Episode 1 teasers: Gyeongsuk, Gyeongsuk’s Father

If Gyeongsuk, Gyeongsuk’s Father (2009) is a forerunner for what we can expect from Korean dramas this year, then 2009 looks like it’s going to be a great year. At least streets better than the dismal pickings of 2008.

Set during the turbulent years of the Korean War, this four-episode drama is a delightful surprise. Extremely funny but also suspenseful, quirky but also sad, affecting but disturbing, it is a perfect concoction of comic and tragic. I lost count of the number of times I burst out laughing, squealed even. Or the times my heart pounded, afraid for the characters’ well-being.

The antics of Jung Bo-seok, playing a rascally and irresponsible father, further entrench him as one of my favorite actors. Although his conduct is reprehensible indeed (abandoning his family in the middle of the war), just like Jung Bo-seok’s characters in Shin Don and La Dolce Vita, it is impossible to hate Jo Jeolgu. He is tremendously flawed, yes, but he still manages to make me shed tears for him. That is the power of Jung Bo-seok’s acting.

But the best acting in the drama comes from someone who is only one-third of Jung Bo-seok’s age. Playing his daughter, Shim Eun-kyung is magnificent as Jo Gyeongsuk. She is the heart of the drama, the one her mother depends on, the one sent out to search for her missing dad. Smart as a whip and more mature than some of the adults in the drama, yet never letting us forget for a moment that she is still a young girl who gets easily afraid and hurt, Shim Eun-kyung is a joy to behold. Put daughter and father together in a scene and watch the sparks fly!

Let’s revisit the first episode of Gyeongsuk, Gyeongsuk’s Father, a shoo-in for my Top Five dramas of the year.

What is Gyeongsuk holding and why is she all sweaty?

What’s the prize for winning the ssireum contest?

Why is everyone aghast at Manggeun?

Are Gyeongsuk and Grandma happy eating potatoes? Why?

What prize awaits Gyeongsuk if she completes her mission?

Why is Gyeongsuk’s dad looking furtively behind him?

Why is Gyeongsuk sitting alone and wailing?

Will the wives approve the topic of discussion?

Why is Gyeongsuk’s dad furious with her?

What “shocking” information did Yunseop’s parents receive?

Why is Gyeongsuk looking so smug here?

Why is everyone all agog?

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9 thoughts on “Episode 1 teasers: Gyeongsuk, Gyeongsuk’s Father

  1. Shim Eun-Kyung is lucky she has smart parents who let her choose the projects she wants, without stressing her about stardom. And, in another sense, lucky that she isn’t THAT popular (like Moon Geun-Young was at her age). If she doesn’t get ruined by managers or try to waste time in “I’m not a kid anymore”-style projects, we might have the best actress of her generation on our hands.

    Kind of get the itch to rewatch this. ㅋㅋ Year is still young and there’s a couple of watchable dramas (finally), but I’d be really surprised if this doesn’t end 1st or 2nd at the end of the year. If it does, all the better.

    • X, was Shim Eun-kyung even better in Hansel & Gretel (2007) than Gyeongsuk? I really want to check this out and it’s available in the stores. But me being such a scaredy cat…

  2. I have seen this drama and it was straight up hilarious. As much as I tried to hate Gyeongsuk’s father, I couldn’t. He simply wasn’t created for marriage or family life. If he had been born a woman he probably would have made a kick-ass kisaeng, hehe.

  3. I loved this drama. Your post reminded me to finish encoding it and put it on my hubby’s I-phone for him to watch. He will love it. I also wrote about it on the Korean Adoption Board, where a-parents always are interested in learning Korean culture. This drama is loaded w/ traditional culture plus a little modern history. Also it is only 4 eps long, perfect for a drama newbie. I completely enjoyed working on the sub project for this. Thanks X and thundie.

  4. Hi marissa

    Interesting thought about Jo Jeolgu not being created for marriage or family life. That doesn’t absolve him, of course; whatever the reasons he’s still a selfish prick. But I wonder if he justified his escapades as his way of bringing home the bacon. And him being a distant and absent father isn’t really that unusual in many families.

    Jung Bo-seok as a “kick-ass kisaeng.” Haha, that I must see!

  5. Hi julier!

    We’re an amazing subbing team! ^^ (modesty and humility do not apply here, lol.) But I miss dissing a drama together (cough, Kingdom of the Wind, cough). With Gyeongsuk being all kinds of awesome, it was a lovefest all the way.

  6. SEK is always wonderful. She was better than Ha Ji-Won as Hwang Jin-Yi, she was lovely in Women of the Sun, great in Hansel & Gretel (not that scary, just… Del Toro-like? Disturbing it might be, but not scary)…. major major talent here.

    We can always prepare the bitching of doom for Her Majesty Queen Seondeok.

  7. (Psst, she was also better than the adult Sujini in Legend.)

    Wait… she’s in Women of the Sun? How’s the drama? Read some raves and have been wondering if it’s worth checking out. It’s available with English subs in my neck of the woods.

    And holy cow, I see from dramawiki that the girl has 13 dramas and two movies under her belt! That’s a large body of work for someone her age.

    Off-topic: Speaking of scary, what is your take on Kim Myung-min’s Sorum? I was this close to ordering it, but chickened out at the last minute.

  8. Sorum kicks ass. Wicked and uber-dark as I like them. Throws all the K-horror tropes in the trash, so me likey, me very likey. Jang Jin-Young seems to always give her best with Yoon Jong-Chan (same director of Blue Swallow).

    Women in the Sun is…. the rare mainstream with brains. Lee Ha-Na is a one trick pony and the histrionics can be hard to tolerate, but it at least makes some sense, and Jung Ae Ri and Kim Ji Soo are wonderful. Decent stuff, worth a look.

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