In honor of Heechul's discharge from the military, I am going to be writing about the 2006 drama Bad Family. I am also going to try to review this drama in a similar way that I review music videos to try for a more structured approach. Let me know what you think about it!
Bad Family is one of those dramas that, while it is very good, it is hard to find and it is even harder to find anyone talking about it, which is a shame. Yes, this is an older drama, but it doesn't have that same old feel that you might get from Full House which made me laugh the whole time at how "old" it seemed in comparison to what is being produced today.
Again I say, it is a huge injustice that this drama doesn't get the recognition that it deserves because it really is a heartwarming story about a fake family that becomes a real one and all the crazy things that happen to them. The cast is also fabulous and you could tell that they really all enjoyed working with one another.
The last thing that I like about this drama is that it seems like they took every single dramaland trope and tossed them into the same drama and let it unfold. This drama seriously had everything: amnesia, car crashes, adoption, murder, fake families, gangsters, loan sharks, chaebols, flying kicks to the face, lip pressing, and awkward relationships. How awesome does that sound? It is done it a totally not annoying way too because some of these things, when they happen, you sit and yell at your computer, but not this time. They all tie very well into the story line and make it better.
This story is about the tragic death of a little girl's, Na Rim, family and the loss of her memory all resulting from a terrible car crash caused by a "friend" of the family. Na Rim's uncle becomes suspicious of said "friend" and highers the help of ex-ganster Oh Dal Gun to put together a fake family in the hopes that they will bring back Na Rim's memories of that day. Oh Dal Gun then finds people that owe him money and blackmail them into becoming a family telling them that they can repay their debts this way.
How amazing does this sound so far? Car crashes, amnesia, gangsters, and blackmail all in the first episode!
As you can probably guess, these people do NOT like each other which adds to the fun of watching it. The fight and gripe, but as soon as Na Rim enters the room, no matter what it happening, they have to love each other. It is like watching an improve show when the actors are acting out a bar fight and then someone calls out a change for "Swan Lake".
I think what ends up being my favorite part of the drama is that everyone is happy and has somebody to love at the end. In a lot of dramas there always seems to be those one or two people that either don't live happily ever after or just live ever after with nothing much to go for. Everyone has someone at the end though and the characters don't totally change either, they just become better versions, happier versions, of themselves.
Even though we only know Na Rim's real family for about fifteen minutes, you can tell that they are a family that really love each other. Grandma and Grandpa probably spoil their granddaughter silly and let her get away with about anything; Mom and dad are the perfect couple who love each other and their daughter unconditionally; and whatever the uncle was like, he was probably the complete opposite of Oh Dal Gun. The only people who are the closest to being like Na Rim's real family are her fake brother and sister, Kim Yang Ah and Gong Min, who care for Na Rim because of their own sad home lives.
This is something that makes the fake family so much more fun to watch because they are all such horrible people. Grandpa is a womanizer, Grandma is a foulmouthed, dirty ahjumma, Dad is a push over with no self respect, Mom is selfish, and Uncle is an ex-ganster, yeah, that's a winning combination.
Na Rim is at the center of this drama and she could not be cuter. While she was young during the filming, sitting at eight years old, she did a wonderful job and totally killed in it the last episode when she came to the family crying. If you've seen this drama you know what I'm talking about and don't pretend that you didn't cry too with the whole will they or won't they issue in the last episode.
Let's be honest here, the reason that I watched Bad Family was because Heechul was in it, no shame. Heechul was far from the most important person in the drama, being a side character, but whenever he was on camera, he did a pretty good job.
One of my favorite moments from his character that hit me right in the feels was toward the end as he interacted with Na Rim. Na Rim was crying because she drew a family portrait, but it was wrong because she had to color Gong Min's hair orange instead of yellow because she didn't have a yellow crayon. Gong Min then told her wait and ran off the the hair salon and dyed his hair for her. Cutest thing ever!
I was just going to talk about Na Rim and Gong Min because she's adorable and he's Heechul, but this was my first experience watching a drama with Kang Nam Gil and I am so happy that I have found him! In the dramas that I have seen him in, he always plays these happy father figures and it just makes me really happy. I want him to adopt me into his family!
One more mention and that belongs to Yeo Wun Gye who did a wonderful job as Grandma. This is the only thing that I have ever seen her in and I don't know if I'll ever watch anything with her in it again because she unfortunately died in 2009 at the age of 69 from complications from kidney cancer.
All the other characters do fantastic jobs a well and really make you care for the them. There are no weak links in the main cast and they all do a really good job complimenting each other. I would love to watch more of their home life and I think that it would make an interesting sitcom to expand upon all of their characteristics.
I am all for themes and symbolism since that is what I learned for four years as an English major in college and this drama deals a lot with the theme of love and what it means to be a family. Is a family the people that you are born to or the ones that adopt you? It also touches on what kind of people deserve to be a part of a family. You have all of these people who have been abandoned in one way or another forced to work together. They don't think that they need each other, but in the end, the thought of leaving breaks their hearts (and the audiences).
One other thing that is put on the table is the theme of self worth. These people have all been mistreated or abandoned by someone and because of it, they feel that they do not deserve the love of someone else or they don't need the love of someone else. It is fun to watch them grow and discover that they do need each other and that they are worth loving.
This drama will pull on your heart strings, but it is also very funny in equal doses. It is a shame that more people haven't watched it or write about it. It isn't flashy and it may not stick with you in the same way as a trendy drama, but it shouldn't be ignored! I don't feel like I've ever watched anything like Bad Family before either, are there any other dramas that follow the same idea as this one, because I would totally watch that.
So, yes, this is a drama that everyone should take the time to watch and enjoy and then make everyone around you watch as well.
What else am I watching?
Who Are You? - Is it wrong that I want Hyung Joon to either pull an Arang or have Si On die? Because, seriously, their chemistry is SOOOO much better than her's and Taec's.
The Master's Sun - Who cried during episode nine? I did! I might have also yelled "shut up and kiss!" at my computer a few times during both episode nine and ten, because, man, they got really close to each other a few times.