Life is Beautiful Episode 1 Overview
Romanized title: Insaengeun Areumdawo
English title: Life is Beautiful
Broadcast station: SBS
Broadcast dates: 20 March – 7 November 2010
50 Extended to 63
Cast: Nam Sang Mi, Song Chang Ui, Lee Sang Yoon, Nam Gyu Ri, Lee Sang Woo, Yu Min
Synopsis: This drama revolves around the lives and loves of the various generations of the Yang family who live on Jeju Island. The family is thrown for a loop when the patriarch returns and announces his illness and another member is hiding a big secret.
In only one episode the plot is already twisted and tangled with secrets and complicated pasts and the romance story lines haven’t even entered the equation yet (it looks from previews that they will start showing more of the romance relationships in the 2nd episode).
The (not-so-very) Basics: The story takes place on Jeju Island and follows the different generations of the Yang family who all happen to live under the same roof (the family business seems to involve scuba diving and renting out rooms to tourists, although the entire family does not work at the business).
The sons of the Yang family were pretty much raised alone by their mother (played by Kim Rong Min) who worked in the fields and catching fish so she has become stooped over. But she is still as feisty as ever. She was the first wife of her children’s father (he had several other wives and 14-15 kids altogether).
Choi Jung Hoon plays the Yang patriarch who surprises his entire family by showing up out of the blue after being out of their lives for quite a few years. Whether he chose to abandon him or his wife got fed up with his other wives and children, it is a little unclear. Yang Mama chases him out of the house and the eldest son takes him home where his father reveals that he might not have all that much time left to his life.
Byung Tae is the only son who has kept in touch with Yang Papa and he feels sympathetic towards his father even if he doesn’t approved of his father’s multiple wives. He seriously wants to consider letting Yang Papa back into the family (which most of them are against).
He only has one wife who has her own cooking show and who is obsessed with marrying his eldest son off. This is his wife’s second marriage, she has been divorced. Whether or not some of the children are from her previous marriage, I do not know. I do know that the eldest son, Yang Tae Sub, is not her natural son.
Yang Tae Sub (played by Song Chang Ui) is a 34-year-old doctor who has just recently ended a relationship (or rather, was dumped) with a woman. His photographer friend (who is really his boyfriend, but that cat hasn’t been let out of the bag yet, but looks like you’ll get to know them as an official couple in episode 2) is upset because Tae Sub is too passive, which will only cause everyone heartache later. He has a point. Although, it is very hard to come out of the closet, especially since Tae Sub’s stepmother is trying so hard to marry him off as he is the eldest son of the family.
The third child of the 3rd generation, Yang Ho Sub (played by Lee Sang Yoon), is teased for dropping out of college not long after it started. He is in charge of the diving tours and guests and seems to have a good head and personality for the job. Diving is his passion and the main reason why he quit school. He is disgusted by his little sister’s conniving ways when it comes to men. He has an undeniable crush on his mother’s assistant played by Nam Sang Mi.
Yang Cho Rong is the youngest in the family. She is always being told to help out and take care of the other family members. She seems to be a good natured young woman, however, she is a manhunter. She is constantly on the lookout for a good catch (meaning a guy with money), which annoys Ho Sub. Her mother and Ho Sub joke about her guy chasing by calling it “fishing.”
The youngest 2nd generation son, Yang Byung Keol, quibbles with Cho Rong over girls today and why, at his age, he hasn’t even been married once. It’s obvious he is the baby of the family. Yang Mama takes good care of him, letting him get away with a lot. But he is a good son, always taking care of his mother. He is immature and loves taunting the middle son Yang Byung Joon (who despises their father with a passion and wants nothing to do with him).
Yang Byung Joon is a more uptight person than his two brothers leading him to have stomach trouble. He works as a manager of a golf course. In this episode he declares he hates his father because his mother tried to abort him because of a stunt their father pulled. Oddly enough, he has a good relationship with his mother. You would think he wouldn’t like either parent since his mother did attempt to abort him because of what Yang Papa did. His younger brother disgusts him. He is constantly after him for not cleaning up properly and acting immature. It seems he generally has a good relationship with his eldest brother, but he is out of sorts with him for even suggesting they let their father back into their lives.
My thoughts: I love this drama so far. Since there wasn’t a whole lot of plot information, I wasn’t sure if this would be something I would like, but I thought I’d give it a shot because it stars Nam Sang Mi who I enjoy watching, especially her role in Invincible Lee Pyung Kang. She hasn’t had much airtime as of yet, but Ho Sub seems to be enamored with her.
The dynamics between the family members are really great. I love the relationship between Byung Joon and Byung Keol. They are just like little kids always squabbling and fighting. The serious Byung Joon becomes more immature when he is around his baby brother. I love the feisty grandma character, but I tend to love those characters in general, probably because of my own feisty grandma.
I have to admit to shock when in only the first episode we find out Yang Papa had several wives and 15 kids. It was not something expected. It was also surprising to hear that Yang Mama put up with the other wives and children for quite awhile. I wonder if any of his other wives and children will show up to throw the Yang family into more of tailspin (they are already flustered over the unexpected arrival of Yang Papa)?
I can’t wait to see more of this drama. Hopefully they’ll clear up why Byung Tae’s wife is obsessed with Tae Sub’s finding someone to marry, even to the detriment of driving away her other children.