I had zero interest in Ojakgyo Brothers. One, because idol/actor UEE was in it. Two, it’s a long ass drama. Three, UEE’s role was reportedly prominent. Basically, it boiled down to WTF is UEE doing in this drama???
And then I saw the trailers. Immediately I took a liking. UEE and Joowon had great chemistry. Jung Woongin was wonderful. But most of all, Ryu Sooyoung and Choi Jungyoon just looked perfect with each other. I figured it looked harmless enough and trailers at least warranted a first episode look. I never expected it to be my current favourite drama.
Ojakgyo Brothers is a family fare, revolving around the Hwang family. The Hwang family has 4 sons. Hwang Taeshik is the oldest son, carrying a heavy ‘bachelor’ tag on his shoulder. His constant pressure is to get married. His weakness is a pretty girl. Taebum is the second son, irresponsible and immature, and works as a reporter in a TV station where he frequently butts head with his boss, hot headed Cha Sooyoung. Taehee, is the adoptive third son, originally the son of Papa Hwang’s brother. He works as a cop, where he meets college student Baek Jaeun, while investigating her father. Taepil is the youngest son, a much cause of desperation and/or trouble in the family. He’s a part time model and full time skirt chaser.
Hwang family owns a pear/duck farm which they work and live from for about 10 years. Only one day, a weird dude comes to the house asking Papa Hwang to return the farm. So yes, apparently the farm had only been on a long term loan, one which only Papa Hwang and Grandma Hwang know about. Consequently the rest of the house explodes upon this newfound knowledge, particularly Mom Hwang, who works herself to the bone cultivating the farm. Weird dude turns out to be Baek Inho, a prominent witness on a case that Taehee is working on. When Baek Inho goes missing on a flight to China, the family temporarily heaves a sigh of relief. But only for long, because Baek Inho’s daughter Baek Jaeun drops by to demand her dad’s farm back.
This is basically the setup of the drama. The farm has always been owned by the Baek family, but was loaned to the Hwang family, who built it from ground zero into a fruit producing, profitably farm it is today. So right away, we are hit across the face with this conflict of interest. Whose farm is it supposed to be? Who are we supposed to root for? The Baek’s side of argument is clear and simple. The farm is legally theirs. But what about the Hwang? They were the one who turned a block of soil and land into a lush pear orchard and duck farm.
That’s the big picture. But let me break down the story of each brother so far, up to episode 22.
Taeshik finally went on a blind date with the woman of his dreams, Yejin. Yejin is sweet and nice. She’s also gorgeous, which immediately won her a gajillion points in Taeshik’s books. The Hwang family rented a suit to a lady and her daughter, Misook and Hana. Misook turned out to be Taeshik’s old old friend from school and she has feelings for Taeshik, one that goes completely ignored by Taeshik because he’s too preoccupied with purrty girl Yejin. One day, Taeshik’s old girlfriend in the Philippines started contacting him again. No, not to get back together or anything. But to tell him that they had a 9 year old son together, and he’s coming to Korea! Dum dum dum!
Taebum goes on about as usual, creating havoc and fighting with his superior, Cha Sooyoung. Their relationship is complicated. She’s his senior, but she’s younger than him. The switch of power does not bode well with them. Sooyoung is a shy, clumsy girl at heart, but is known as a dragon lady at work. She’s been crushing on Taebum but never had the guts to tell him because hell, she’s his boss. Until one day where they both get drunk and done the dirty work in bed. But all was still fine until Sooyoung found out she got pregnant, wanted to keep the baby, and asked Taebum to marry her. After much prodding, Taebum agreed to do a one year trial marriage. And there begins Sooyoung and Taebum’s uber awkward married life, complete with meddlesome mother in law, unconventional sleeping arrangement, and a sign of old feelings for old flame.
Taehee started investigating a case that seemed simple enough, until it snowballed into giant bribery and collusion mayhem, involving his own boss. Keeping in mind that he’s a cop, that situation’s a murky water altogether. When Baek Jaeun was at odds with his family, his integrity sided with her, yet he couldn’t betray his family. He started helping her little by little, time and time again touched by her sincerity. Taehee’s story is slowly getting off the ground as we see a little more about the case, and his interaction with Jaeun. They’re getting there.
Much like Taehee’s, Taepil’s story hasn’t been in the center stage. Taepil bumped into Sooyoung’s young aunt Yeowool by chance. Yeowool just got back from US to open her business but got conned by her friend instead. And it seems like he will be helping her “getting her groove back”. Not sure if a supposed romance is in the horizon for them, but in the meantime, Taepil is sparking some jealousy on Taehee’s part as Taepil started treating Jaeun nicer.
Baek Jaeun was the queen of the campus, a small celebrity of her own. When dad went missing, her world crumbled along with dad’s company and wealth. It didn’t help matters that her stepmom is a sneaky, lying bitch, and took flight the first chance she got. Jaeun knew her dad had an asset nobody knew and when she came to claim her dad’s farm to the Hwang, they turned her off coldly. The cherry on top was when the land deed went missing and she was embroiled in a bribery scandal with the school, courtesy of Taebum. So she had no money and nowhere to go. After the scandal was cleared, she resolved to camp out on the Hwang’s front yard to get to know the family and the farm. She began learning about farming and helping Mom Hwang and struck an unlikely friendship with her. What she doesn’t know, however, is that Mom Hwang is the one who hid the land deed and basically landed her broke and kicked her out on the street. But she doesn’t know that yet. Dum dum dum….
I have a weakness for family drama. I tend to love them. But I remember hating at least the first 8 episodes of this drama. I hated Papa Hwang for hiding about the farm and consequently not being able to stand up for who’s right. I hated Mom Hwang for being such a stubborn and insensible lady. I hated how Jaeun walks around like she owns the damn farm right from the get go. I hated how the family treated Jaeun because despite everything, the farm IS hers. I think it was when things started to calm down that I began to enjoy the drama.
Jaeun got her act together and dealt with Mom Hwang the right way. Vice versa, Mom Hwang grudgingly started to accept her and took Jaeun under her wing. More than the romance, the bond between Mom Hwang and Jaeun is what I like the most. She’s taken to defend Mom and stick to her like a daughter and Mom started confiding in Jaeun when she has a problem with her sons. They started with such animosity to each other and have come a long way now. I’m so dreading the moment Jaeun finds out the land deed was hidden by Mom Hwang all this time. Wonder if their newfound rapport can be healed when this goes to the shitter.
I already expressed how much I love UEE in this drama. She’s still stumbling a little here and there, but I love how natural Jaeun’s vivacity is. Sometimes, you can tell an actress is trying to be all sunny and bright, but UEE really gets into her character and her acting feels so sincere. Plus, she’s got amazing chemistry with Joowon. Their scenes continue to be little cookie highlights of each episode. I appreciate that they’re taking their time with Jaeun and Taehee, after all, it’s a 50 episode drama, but I’m glad the ball is rolling slowly.
Out of all brothers, Taebum is the hardest to like. I’m looking forward to Taebum/Sooyoung scenes every episode, but I find myself trying hard to root for them. It feels like he’s throwing silent tantrums all the time now because he feels wronged that the marriage is forced on him. I hate seeing Sooyoung tiptoeing around him, trying to gain little favours out of him here and there. True, the marriage was shoved on him, but he did get his one year trial condition. So why isn’t he trying?
Taeshik’s son finally appeared. And they really scored with the child actor. He’s such a cute little kid, with amazing expressive eyes, and this perchance to make you on his side from the start. I think I’m going to love Taeshik’s storyline a lot.
Ojakgyo Brothers airs every Saturday and Sunday and is available on Viki. Go watch it!