The Queen of Asian Drama is Back with more Irreverent Reviews and Snarky Commentary.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Unkind Women

Title: 착하지 않은 여자들 / Chakhaji Anheun Yeojadeul
Also known as: Unkind Ladies
Genre: Family, drama, romance
Episodes: 24
Broadcast network: KBS2
Broadcast period: 2015, Feb to 2015, May


Main Cast 

Kim Hye ja as Kang Soon ok, Chae Si ra as Kim Hyun sook, Do Ji won as Kim Hyun jung, and Lee Ha na as Jung Ma ri.



Courtesy KBSWorld: This drama features the women of three generations and people around them.  Ma Ri grows up as a good teacher of this generation where there is no true mentor. Hyun Sook, who has been a troublemaker, realizes the love and support of her family. Kang Soon Ok regards herself as unlucky, but later on realizes how happy she has been.  How can you hold up when your life gets tough? You will figure it out by holding up day by day, just like these women in the drama.

Again, it makes little sense after having watched all 24 as-they-were-released episodes. And, with thanks to Dramafever, the subs were relatively painless a majority of the time.

What this was really about was Kang Soon Ok, a troubled teen who ended up being expelled for selling stolen goods and then lying about it to her homeroom teacher. 

The story begins in present-day Seoul with Soon ok living with her grown daughter, a Ph.D holder in Korean Literature, in her mother's traditional Korean home and still struggling to try and make some sense of her desolate life.

Her mother spent the last 30 years raising two daughters and then a granddaughter in this traditional home and makes her living as a traditional Korean dish cook. She teaches classes from within this home, and the two daughters are faithful to her and her cause.

That is because after 30 years, they are beginning to understand what it was their mother went through in the absence of a father-figure. A man who ran away with another woman, though the three women are led to believe that he died in a club fire.

After 30 years, the puzzle pieces are slowly and methodically put together and the truth is finally revealed. Now these three women are made to readjust not only their way of life but their thinking about such things as the past, the lies, the betrayal, and the confusion that ensues.

It is basically a story about two women who suffer from past transgressions who in present-day are made to have to deal with them directly and in a mature fashion while also learning how to grow, forgive, and move on.

And, yes, it was well worth the 24-episodes. Not a one was slapped together or unnecessary, although I will admit to there being a slight bit of redundancy, and to a disappointing outcome in the 'romance' category between young Ma ri and her two, eligible suitors.

My Take

I thought everyone did a marvelous job. Every character (and there were dozens) did a great and convincing job of portraying whomever it was involved with this family.

I adored the mother. She's cute, endearing, and has a passive yet wicked sense of humor. For a woman of her age and stature to pull off a few of those hilarious stunts was amazing, so kudos to her for being so marvelous!

I thought that Lee Ha na was cute, too, and funny in a stunted-serious way that goes against the grain of comedy. If that makes no sense, you'll just have to watch the drama and then it will.

As for the two love interests (half-brothers in the show) I was always rooting for the younger, more handsome, and of course, more physically fit of the two. There was just something about the elder that irked me and rubbed me the wrong way -- and even if he, too, did a wonderful job of portraying the eldest, responsible one with a stable job and a warm heart.


Then again, I'm biased on account of my past memories of said second hunky guy! Oh, how I wish they'd stay young forever :D

And, of course, Lee Soon jae as Kim Chul hee will always be my favorite halabeoji!

Last but not least, there was Kim Hye Eun as Ahn Jong Mi -- a scene stealer from the very start and who's character never changed throughout the drama. I really like her.


Why couldn't Soon ok just re-enroll at another school? 

It was even pointed out that her older sister attended another high school, and I'm pretty sure there are more than one in any part of that large city.

Getting a bit tired of the hair-perm as being a sign of weakness, age, and lack of social or monetary status.

I'm also noticing a disappointing trend in the romance department that pits two unlikely people against each other, has them grow to fall in love, and then separates them with the ubiquitous Migu trip to study.

Talk about gaping holes in a plot!

The title is a bit off-putting as well as being untrue. 

These women weren't all unkind, but there were two unkind souls involved in their lives -- and the father was a dick who chose to have an affair. 

The two very vicious, hateful, spiteful, and vindictive women both chose to try and ruin the lives of the mother and her second daughter as well as to come between the budding romance that eventually fizzled and died anyway.

Isn't it just a little bit ironic, then, to create all of these magical 'family values' dramas and then bump off the romance? 

Education, wealth, and career are far more important than romance. 

Okay, so if that is true, then where will all of Korea be in 20 years if no one is getting sexually involved or wants to get married and raise a family?

It just seems counter-productive to a mass-media hype intent on influencing a generation of mindless followers of said law, doesn't it?

And why, then, would The Return of Superman be so popular?

Very confusing message not jiving in this very un-Korean mind of mine.

Speaking of TRS, when little Uhm Ji on grows up, she'll look exactly like Lee Ha na.

. . . or her mother :D


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