Yay Rascal Sons!!! I haven’t had a good weekend drama to watch in some time and was SUPER excited for Rascal Sons aka My Sons. The last weekend show I watched religiously (well, sorta) was… A Gentleman’s Dignity? Yeah, I think so. I got on the You Who Rolled into My Life train towards the end and only watched Lee-sook + Jae-yong. As for the other weekend shows, well, I guess we can go down the list: I love me some Lee Sang-yoon and LOVE the veteran cast of My Daughter Seo-young but haven’t started watching it yet. May Queen and Five Fingers all have leads I adore, but they are some serious makjang dramas, so I’m holding off on them for now. And last but not least, The Great King’s Dream has kinda flown under my radar – I do like sageuks when they’re done well, but I just don’t have much interest in this one. Anyhoo, back to Rascal Sons and why I was excited for it. Seriously, the cast is loaded with all of my favs: Lee Sung-jae, Myung Se-bin, Ryu Soo-young, and newly minted fav Seo In-guk. Eee! The veteran actors are not my top-favs, but they’re all marvelous and are rocking the house.
Weekend shows are usually family fare, and Rascal Sons defs fits into that category. The show, slated for 50 episodes, ain’t the usual miniseries. It takes some time for stories to develop, but you just grow that much more attached to these characters. And this one looks primed to be a heartwarming, non-makjang-fest traditional weekend show about family, marriage, and love. The large number of characters and intertwined relationships come with the territory, so put your memory caps on and let’s go meet the characters!
Mama and Papa Yoo
Mama (Na Moon-hee) and Papa Yoo (Park In-hwan) have three sons: Hyun-ki, Min-ki, and Seung-ki (whom we’ll introduce individually later). They’ve been married for eons but Mama Yoo decided she ain’t takin’ it no more, so the elderly parents are preparing to get divorced. LOL. Divorce is not a funny issue by any means, but I can appreciate the humor in starting off the drama with the old parents deciding to live separately for a while. Mama Yoo has gone off to Japan and Papa Yoo is reveling in the freedom. He seriously cracks me up.
Papa Yoo is a real estate agent and has taken up chatting online with a lady friend, who turns out to be his business neighbor Bae Deok-soon (Kim Hyung-ja). Ms. Bae and Papa Yoon are always bickering, and they have no idea that they are chatting with each other online. Papa Yoon is masquerading online as a widower, and as soon as Mama Yoo heads off to Japan, he sets up a meeting with Ms. Bae. The two go to the designated hotel coffee shop, dressed to the nines, and run into each other. They obviously can’t even begin to imagine that they’re there to meet one another so end up going home disappointed when their mystery wo/man doesn’t show up. Mama Yoo obviously has to come back into the picture soon, so I’m eager to see how things develop.
(A quick note: Women traditionally don’t take their husband’s last name when they marry, so technically Mama Yoo is actually Mama Woo. But for the sake of simplicity, I’m gonna go Western style (not Gangnam style ) and call the married women by their husband’s family name.)
Eldest Son: Yoo Hyun-ki + Sung In-oak
The eldest son of the Yoo family is Hyun-ki (Lee Sung-jae), a widower with a young daughter named Ah-ram. He’s still grieving his wife and leads a quiet, perhaps even staid, life as a father and dentist. Hyun-ki hasn’t been able to let go of his late wife’s family, either – he sees his mother-in-law Mom Kang and brother-in-law Jin at least once every week. Nothing wrong with that, but not exaaactly the norm in Korean culture.
Ah-ram has a school picnic/field trip to attend but Hyun-ki forgets her backpack and lunch at home. It’s an omen of the things to come: he gets a ticket for illegally parking (when he runs inside a convenience store to buy lunch items for Ah-ram) then gets stuck in traffic trying to drive Ah-ram to school. By the time the father-daughter pair arrive at school, everyone has left and the school is deserted – except for Sung In-oak and her son Da-bin.
In-oak (Myung Se-bin) also lost her spouse and is living with her father-in-law Han Byung-gook (Kim Yong-gun) and sister-in-law Han Song-hee (Shin Da-eun). That, too, is not something all that common – very few widows continue to live with their in-laws. She’s a piano teacher and her father-in-law buys her a place to start a piano academy. (It was her husband’s dying wish to set up a piano academy again for her.) She’s kind to a fault, but she’s also a protective mother and not afraid to do whatever it takes to care for her son.
The day of the children’s field trip, Song-hee flakes on In-oak and nephew Da-bin, which is why In-oak and Da-bin find themselves at the school after everyone has left. Hyun-ki offers to give Da-bin a ride since both kids are headed in the same direction, and In-oak reluctantly accepts. She checks and double-checks that Hyun-ki has her number, and instructs him to call her if anything happens. He’s a bit miffed at her bossiness but he’s not the type to say anything – he cedes to others’ wishes and goes with the flow, almost to the point of frustration. Hyun-ki and the kids finally arrive at the park but it turns out the field trip has been relocated to an amusement park. Hyun-ki can’t get in touch with In-oak, so he decides to stay put (at the original location) for her sake. His phone battery dies, though, so he tells the kids not to go anywhere while he charges his phone. Good luck with that one.
Sure enough, the kids go chasing after a puppy, and In-oak arrives at the park (to pick up Da-bin) to see police cars and people whispering about a child kidnapping. She rails at Hyun-ki, going into hysterics and even ripping his shirt. He finally manages to get a word in and open his car door – to reveal a sleeping Da-bin. Turns out it’s Ah-ram who’s missing, and an apologetic In-oak takes the lead in finding the frightened little girl. The four have dinner together and Hyun-ki and In-oak have the usual Korean I-pay-you-pay tug of war. But contrary to expectations (and the norm), the passive Hyun-ki hilariously cedes to In-oak’s insistence that she pay for the meal. When he offers a ride home and she declines, he again cedes to her wishes. It cracks me up. He goes home that night and tells his wife (he still has pictures of her) about his crazy day.
Their encounters, however, are far from over. Hyun-ki’s a lightweight – or at least, looks like one – and he turns reeeed after just one shot of concentrated plum extract. He goes out to buy a few beers and sees a group of high schoolers drinking and smoking. The upright Hyun-ki can’t let something like this just slide, and the punks are about to beat him up when In-oak (also picking up some beer) comes to his rescue. She sees his crazy Asian glow and they get into an argument about him driving in his (non)drunken state. He manages to wrest his keys away from her and go home, and In-oak figures out that Hyun-ki had drunk the plum extract…
I absitively posolutely loooove Lee Sung-jae and Myung Se-bin, so this pairing just makes me SQUEAL like no other. For seriously. Hyun-ki is such a dork, and In-oak pretty much tramples all over him. But something tells me that once they fall in love with one another, it’s gonna be a sweet, heart-warming romance. I bawled just watching Hyun-ki stare longingly at his wife’s photo – Lee Sung-jae is amazing. These two are gonna be absolutely adorbs and I am SO excited.
Middle Son: Yoo Min-ki + Lee Shin-young
The middle son of the Yoo family is Min-ki, a romance author. Seriously? Ryu Soo-young plus romance author?! Man, this drama just loves me, doesn’t it? Min-ki has been in love with Lee Shin-young (Han Hye-rin) for the past ten years. Problem is, his best friend Kang Jin (Hyun-ki’s late wife’s younger brother) loves her too, and she loves Jin back. Ten years ago, Min-ki and Jin came upon Shin-young and her parents, who had been in a bad car accident. They got Shin-young out but the car tumbled down the cliff before her parents could be rescued – crushing Jin in the process. Jin has been wheelchair-ridden since then. So, uh, not looking good for Min-ki and his unrequited love.
Shin-young returns to Korea after spending time abroad meeting lots of people and seeing the world. She has decided that she still wants Jin, and he proposes to her (she, of course, accepts). Everyone is delighted… except Min-ki, though he tries his best to hide it. He takes Shin-young to go visit her parents at the cemetery, and it starts pouring like nobody’s business. The ever-gallant Min-ki tries to carry her across what has become a swift river thanks to the rain, but he loses his balance and they get swept away by the current. He manages to get them out and dried in front of a fire, which lulls Shin-young to sleep. She nestles into his side and he stares at her a long while before slowly leaning in to kiss her…
Okay, gonna be honest. I love Ryu Soo-young. But this time? I don’t know… There’s just a huuuge lack of chemistry between him and Han Hye-rin. It’s only been two episodes, but she just isn’t doin’ it for me, both as an actress and as a partner to Ryu Soo-young. As for the impossible love triangle: The relationship chart shows another love interest for Jin, but I can’t see him falling for another woman while Shin-young still loves him. That means someone’s gonna have to break his heart, which is messed up on so many levels. This one’s an icky one.
Youngest Son: Yoo Seung-ki + Park Mi-rim
The last but certainly not least is the baby of the family, Yoo Seung-ki (Seo In-guk). He married Park Mi-rim (Yoon Se-in) after knocking her up, but I guess you can’t take the play out of the playboy that easily. Seung-ki concocts all kinds of crazy stories to go out and flirt with his lady friends, who all believe he’s a bachelor. Looks like someone takes after Pops! Mi-rim ain’t dumb, though, and they have an epic showdown when she threatens to drown herself so he can continue his carousing ways. She ends up having to rescue him from drowning, but that don’t mean she’s forgiven him. Seung-ki regains consciousness to find himself sans car and wallet, so he hies himself on home via hitch-hiking and good ol’ walking. The man-child obviously hasn’t learned his lesson, though, and Mi-rim finally kicks him out for good. She tells him she’s filing for divorce (which, hilariously, he’s all too eager to do) and sends over all his belongings for good measure. Seung-ki goes through a hilarious routine trying to stash all his stuff in a storage room while staying out of his family’s sight – if they find out the truth before he can sign the divorce papers, he can kiss his ‘freedom’ goodbye. So. Hilariously. Immature. Hyun-ki almost finds his youngest brother in the storage room, but Seung-ki manages to stay hidden… leaving him locked inside the small, dark room with no way out. This is gonna be a riot.
Man oh man oh man, I think I needed me some turnaround time before watching Seo In-guk in a completely different role from his unforgettable Yoon Yoon-jae. Critics have all been praising the rising star for the seamless transition from one character to another. You defs aren’t seeing remnants of Yoon-jae in Seung-ki. The playboy is slated to get a divorce and fall hard for Han Song-hee (In-oak’s sister-in-law), but Mi-rim can’t be taken out of the picture just yet. If anything, she may never be out of the picture. The other brothers have one woman for their costar, but Seo In-guk has two, so I’m guessing we’re gonna get a serious love triangle. My guess at this point is that Seung-ki will love Song-hee in his own way, but he’ll ultimately come back to his wife and the mother of his child. I’m excited to see how this storyline pans out.
All in all, a solid opening for Rascal Sons, though the ratings didn’t reflect it. The first episode debuted with a 7.7% and the second episode dropped to 7.2%. Meanwhile, My Daughter Seo-young is on the rise and has almost hit the 30% mark in just four episodes. As I said before, I loooove the veteran cast of Seo-young (plus Lee Sang-yoon), but I love the main cast of Rascal Sons. Lee Sung-jae and Myung Se-bin haven’t had favorable ratings for their last few works, and I want it for them so badly this time. But with Seo-young (which airs at the same time as Sons) hitting such high numbers, it’s gonna be hard for Sons to hit the 30-40% range, which solid weekend family shows can definitely attain. There just aren’t enough people watching TV for two shows to both hit the 30s. Sigh. Anyhoo, I’ll be continuing to watch this one at least for the foreseeable future.
What did you think of the first week of Rascal Sons? Please share your thoughts below!