Freitag, 26. Mai 2017

The Suspicious Housekeeper

수상한 가정부 (The Suspicious Housekeeper; formerly known as House Keeper Park Bok Nyeo) is the South Korean remake of the Japanese drama series 家政婦のミタ (kaseifu no mita; I'm Mita, Your Housekeeper). It was aired on SBS from September 23rd to November 26th 2013 and therefore consists of 20 episodes with an average duration of 60 minutes.

Story: Woo Sun-young, mother of Han-gyeol, Du-gyeol, Se-gyeol and Hye-gyeol and wife of Eun Sang-chul suddenly passes away. 49 days after her funeral Sang-chul tells his children that he hired a housekeeper to help them out while he is busy at work.
Park Bok-nyeo is an extremely serious person that never smiles, has all sorts of things in her bag and does everything she is ordered to do - going as far as killing when she is ordered to do that.
All of a sudden the family receives letters that their new housekeeper is a murderer. The children try to figure out what happened on their own after a fight with their father but even though they keep on following Park Bok-nyeo, Du-gyeol, Se-gyeol and Hye-gyeol fail to find out about her secrets. Bok-nyeo threatens to quit when the children won't stop asking her private questions so that the family who learned to appreciate their housekeeper as a kind of second mother, especially Hye-gyeol, stop and ask Bok-nyeo to stay. But the curiosity stays for sure.
At first this story really sounded interesting to me, especially the title. I never watched the Japanese version so I can't compare them at all and didn't know what I was getting myself into. This story itself is like a rollercoaster - at first it goes up all the way just to let you gain speed during the first drop. When that excitement disappears you have some time to calm down and just let it flow before it picks up speed again to get you to a second exciting point - and after that it slows down and slowly takes you to the end. This was my impression after 11 episodes and after finishing it I can say that the second "drop" is actually really interesting and probably one of the reasons why I kept watching. The main problem I have with this drama, however, that the slow paced parts of the track are just too much. There are so many stories and you know they are just supposed to make this drama longer. It cannot keep up its pace for 20 episodes and that makes it lose some quality.

Cast: Choi Ji-woo as Park Bok-nyeo. Thinking about it Park Bok-nyeo is not the most exciting but probably the most developed character. The background story and the effects she experienced all make sense and I couldn't help but pity her. As for the acting, I think it was outstanding. I see why people might disagree with me but emotionless acting to me would be incredibly difficult. Always maintaining the exact same expression for - just guessing, I don't remember the exact episode - 10 episodes is extremely hard to do. Still, the chemistry (not in a romantic way) she had with the children, especially the youngest daughter, made it seem as if there were some feelings shown. It is difficult to explain but it really impressed me.
Lee Sung-jae as Eun Sang-chul. As a character I still don't know what I should think about him but the development the character went through - from a terrible husband and father to an actually caring person who tries to do what could be best for his children - was a huge step. So I kinda admired the character in that way. From one of my most hated characters he made it to one of my favorites. As for the acting, it seemed true to its nature. Lee Sung-jae was good in this role but I wish he would use stronger facial expressions from time to time. However, it was still a solid and actually good performance.
Kim So-hyun as Eun Han-gyeol. Han-gyeol is a typical teenage girl going through puberty and her first love while being the oldest daughter of the household and somehow taking the role of the mother and a student before Park Bok-nyeo starts to work for the family. The rebel character actually suited Kim So-hyun and her expressions, especially the huge problem with her father, were good. I enjoyed her acting in this drama and don't think they could've found a better actress for this role.
Chae Sang-woo as Eun Du-gyeol. As the oldest son he feels like he needs to act as the head of the household when his father is gone. However, his biggest issue is that he feels like he can't do anything and that gives him quite a hard time. I would say he is going through puberty as well and has to find himself and his dreams. Chae Sang-woo did well in this role, playing sometimes the tough guy and sometimes the emotional boy Du-gyeol is according to his age. So he was good in this role.
Nam Da-reum as Eun Se-gyeol. The younger brother is the opposite of Du-gyeol. Se-gyeol can't fight but is extremely good at studying and wants to make his deceased mom proud while being probably the most rational sibling in this drama. I really imagined Nam Da-reum to be Se-gyeol. Maybe it just suits his character, maybe he's just a good young actor but Se-gyeol was great.
Kang Ji-woo as Eun Hye-gyeol. The youngest sibling, Hye-gyeol, suffers the most after losing their mother. Her character is heartbroken and accepts Park Bok-nyeo as a "second" mother soon. While sometimes children can be quite annoying it was heartwrenching to watch her in this drama. Kang Ji-woo is incredibly cute but she did so well in this drama and was either getting along quite well with Choi Ji-woo or they both are just great actresses. I sometimes wonder how child actors even manage to deliver really good performances but she did.
Other actors in this drama include Wang Ji-hye, Song Jong-ho, Jung Moon-sung, Park Geun-hyung, Shim Yi-young, Kim Hae-sook and Jang Seo-won.

Soundtrack: Actually the soundtrack of this drama doesn't include many songs. About the instrumentals I really loved the one playing everytime Park Bok-nyeo was about to appear - I guess it's one of the Park Bok-nyeo themes.
As for the songs sung for this drama by idol singers my favorite is "Twilight" by Yoo Sung-eun. Except for that, Lim Kim sang a song titled "부탁할게요 (I'm Asking You)" which I personally liked, too. The song I can't stand, however, is sadly the one on the drama performed by Kim So-hyun and the band. I don't know why but I'm not a huge fan of her singing or the song.

I see why the rating might seem bad but it's mostly because of the long times without anything happening that was worth noting. I found myself on my phone way too often while just listening to what was said but this drama failed to keep me focussed. Now you can say that it is just not the perfect drama for me - while I love the mystery and suspense I found myself bored by the daily life of the family and the hint of romance that were supposed to be there but probably wasn't. And for the story itself 20 episodes were too much, 14 to 16 would've been completely fine. The length however might be the main problem about the episodes that were just used to fill in without anything, really. Plus, I personally found the first two episodes incredibly boring so I wasn't sure if I should continue watching at all. I'm still glad I did though as this drama has more to it than one expects.
Recommended to fans of family and melodramas. According to what I heard and read the Japanese version is much better so if you know and liked that maybe you should skip the Korean version as most people were disappointed.

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