My Father is Strange – ep 17 recap

Joong Hee’s arrival brings all sorts of surprises; not the least of which Mi Young is one of Dad’s children. “Are you his daughter?” Joong Hee asks the despondent Mi Young. Mom’s “what a coincidence” is the understatement of the year. The introductions to the family members bring mixed reactions; the siblings respond coolly to maintain the pecking order.   

Joong Hee distributes the gifts he’s brought, but the siblings are less than enthusiastic. However, Hye Young is actually relieved that person is a celebrity and not some unknown character. Still, everyone feels bad for Mi Young who is not okay.

Joong Hee’s stuff overflows from the bedroom. It requires some shifting and Joong Hee orders “intern” to make a call for the deliverymen to return. “Yes!” she automatically answers. Dad intervenes and says that he’ll take care of it. There is bound to be trouble ahead if Joong Hee can’t draw a line between work and home life with his intern/sister.

Grandma, Aunt, Uncle, and nephew join the family for more introductions. It is an uncomfortable atmosphere with Joong Hee sitting on a chair (he is used to it, Mom explains) and everyone else sitting on the floor. Grandma’s silent glare makes Joong Hee slip down beside her onto the floor. Mom asks if he has any questions. Joong Hee would like to install a bidet in “my bathroom.” “My bathroom…?” the siblings repeat in chorus. Hye Young tells him to wash in the shower. Grandma inquires of Aunt, “What’s a bidet?” She whispers back loud enough for everyone to hear, “It shoots water up your butt.” Grandma turns to Joong Hee, “Is it on fire?” The siblings can’t hide their amusement and snort at the hilarious conversation.

When Joong Hee tells Grandma that he is indeed a celebrity, she says she has never seen or heard of him. What kind of celebrity is he, anyway? Joong Hee mentions a daytime drama that she might know, but Grandma is sharp to reply that she dropped that one because it was so boring. “Grandma’s awesome,” Ra Young says in admiration. Then there’s Al, the turtle. Grandma supposes that Joong Hee is fattening it up in that cage to cook and suggests combining it with the chickens on the roof for an amazing summer dinner. Joong Hee is horrified and excuses himself. He retreats to his room with Al, um, Pacino. This is all a bit too much. Mom and Dad stop in to say goodnight and tell him to sleep well in his new environment.

Mom asks Dad if Ahn Soo Jin, Joong Hee’s mother, lives in America. Dad thinks so, although he doesn’t actually know. He fills in the few details that he recalls about Soo Jin. After (the real) Han Soo lost both of his parents in a car accident, he wanted to marry Soo Jin. Her parents disapproved even though they married. It never did work out very well and in a short time, they divorced. When real Han Soo heard about her getting married again, he went to America and invited Dad to come over, too. Real Han Soo was determined to make a lot of money. Several days later, he died in that explosion. He probably never knew that Soo Jin was pregnant.

Mi Young curses the powers that be for her bad luck–first, Yoo Joo, and now actor Ahn? She yells from the rooftop that she is not as strong as she seems. When does she get a break?

Joong Hee looks worse for the wear after his first night at the Byuns. He counted 13 trips to the bathroom – 2 per person with someone going 3 times. Now he has to stand in line this morning to use it. It is chaotic and he can’t hold it. Hye Young offers him a plastic bottle to pee in. He gets a good firsthand initiation into life at the Byun household.

Joong Hee joins the family for breakfast. When Mom asks how he likes the fish, Joong Hee can taste that the fish was frozen. The children are speechless at his audacity. Mom is shocked (both that he could tell and that he actually said so) and promises to make it fresh next time. “Good,” Joong Hee replies, not eve realizing that his comment is rude. He certainly isn’t tallying up any brownie points. Next, he brings up the bidet again and wonders if they can put in a bathroom just for him. After all, he has hemorrhoids, he reluctantly admits. Dad agrees to look into it, then. Joong Hee barks for “intern” to make a call. Hye Young warns him to watch it; she rattles off the laws that protect employees from being overworked and asks if he is going to pay Mi Young 24 hours a day. Besides, in this house he is the intern, she reminds him.

Yeon Ji finds Jung Hwan sleeping in the office quarters. She wonders if there is trouble in paradise, but Jung Hwan assures her that he and Hye Young are as tight as ever. Yeon Ji takes the opportunity to boldly express her continued interest in him. Jung Hwan misses being with Hye Young and is excited when she texts to meet for lunch. She tells him that he can’t react to the news–“My dad has a son. Born before he married Mom. He moved in our house yesterday. He is celebrity Ahn Joong Hee.” When Jung Hwan jumps up, Hye Young reminds him that he promised not to react. She is already getting used to it, though, and actually feels better since he is well-known. Jung Hwan tells her that Joong Hee is the actor in the drama that he is documenting. “The world is small,” he sighs. “Even smaller,” a surprised Hye Young answers.

Joong Hee practices his acting basics to make the time pass by. He can’t believe Mi Young hasn’t read his texts and won’t pick up the phone. “What kind of manager ignores her actor’s texts?” he texts. Mi Young is relieved when her boss asks her to pick up a delivery in the lobby. This way, she can continue to ignore Joong Hee because she doesn’t know how to handle the unbelievable situation she finds herself in.

Joong Hee spots Jun Young outside Gabi Entertainment with a woman and realizes that it’s Yoo Joo–so she is his fiancé! He also makes the connection that Kim Yoo Joo is that bully. He chuckles, thinking back on what Mi Young told him that night they drank together. Mi Young also runs into her brother and Yoo Joo and reveals that they were former classmates. Jun Young is surprised. She won’t let it go that Yoo Joo hasn’t apologized. Yoo Joo wants to avoid any problems with Jun Young and runs to catch up with Mi Young. She makes a half-hearted apology, telling Mi Young that she is stubborn to hold onto a grudge from so many years ago. But to Mi Young, the apology isn’t sincere and she doesn’t accept it. “You still look down on me,” she tells Yoo Joo and wants a proper apology. It’s a stand-off: Yoo Joo says that she has apologized and tells Mi Young to do what she wants.

Jun Young and Yoo Joo view several sub-par apartments with a realtor. It is discouraging to find out how little they can afford. The depressing half-basement apartment is the last straw. Over lunch they discuss how out of touch they are with the reality of their financial situation. Jun Young reluctantly suggests they move in with his parents. He expects Yoo Joo to protest but actually she had the same thought. Then it’s settled: he will ask his parents today. Jun Young takes this agreeable moment to tell Yoo Joo that she has a brother-in-law….

When Joong Hee arrives at (his new) home, he asks Mom if Mi Young is around. She informs him that Mi Young has gone to stay downstairs with Grandma. Joong Hee realizes that Mi Young is avoiding him everywhere.

Hye Young is happy to be with Jung Hwan at the apartment. She is exhausted. He sweetly offers to take off her makeup while she rests on his lap and has even prepared a steamed towel. She surprises him with an appreciation kiss.

H

Husband has decided to hang out at the [Sh]eraton. He’ll show Landlady Oh! But true to her threat, she has cancelled his credit cards. Husband is embarrassed that he can’t pay for a room. He eats a sandwich in the car in the parking lot. He wonders why Landlady Oh hasn’t bothered to call and check on him. The next morning, he wakes up with a stiff neck from sleeping at the wheel. Landlady Oh waits at home, she can’t believe he didn’t come home last night. But when he quietly enters, she pretends that she is watching the weather and ignores him. Husband sheepishly picks up boxes as he calls Chico, his dog. It seems like he may amend his ways in order to get back in his wife’s good graces.

Jung Hwan makes a cardinal sin, calling out Yeon Ji’s name in bed. He stumbles over his words to convince Hye Young that it was a slip of the tongue; after all he spends a lot of time with his colleague at work. Of course, that explanation doesn’t help one bit, and Hye Young storms out. He makes it up to her by accidently-on-purpose calling Yeon Ji by Hye Young’s name at work–the conversation is on speaker phone to let Hye Young overhear it. Hye Young seems satisfied.

Cheol Soo happens to see Ra Young helping a blind man across the busy street. She blocks traffic until he arrives safely on the other side. “I didn’t know she had a soft side,” he thinks out loud. When she stops in his makeshift room, Cheol Soo is startled. Thinking that his lover is another guy, Ra Young figures that it is safe to ask him as a friend for dating advice: which eye makeup is better, natural or smoky? She even asks him to help wash her hair in the sink to freshen up for her blind date. It’s nice to have a safe guy friend. But, is Cheol Soo starting to fall for her?

Jun Young asks Mom and Dad if he and Yoo Joo can move in after they marry. Mom is happy when she finds out that Yoo Joo is also agreeable to the arrangement. “If you approve, we’d like to move in,” he tells his parents. Mom is relieved that they won’t have to get a loan. The con is that she will have to babysit the kid, but there are more pros. And, since Mom and Dad can’t lend them the money for their own place, at least they can let them move in. Mom is pleased that they even want to move in with them in the first place.

Joong Hee looks for Mi Young at work, but she hides under the desk. (What’s with Joong Hee’s pink shirt with black handguns on it?) He decides to take her phone so she will have to come to him to get it. Although she would prefer to avoid the conflict, she knows that she will eventually have to face Joong Hee. She goes to his office. He asks why she has avoided him for two days. She doesn’t answer his question, but only rattles off his schedule for the next day.

“What’s with you? Why won’t you look at me?” he demands.

“Why is your family so mean to me?” He complains that Grandma shoots lasers and the siblings want to roast him alive. “What did I do wrong?”

Mi Young is annoyed. “How can you not understand? My dad brought in a love child, how can we welcome you?” As for Grandma, she explains that a grown-up love child of your son-in-law appears out of nowhere–how else could one react?

But what about him being a celebrity? Weren’t they all happy about that? Mi Young tells him that Dad never mentioned anything. Joong Hee just showed up at the door and they’re still in shock. Joong Hee wonders what Dad meant, then, when he said the family was happy about the news that he wanted to live there and would welcome him.

Mi Young walks out. Joong Hee complains out loud that he didn’t ask to move in; it was only for the drama, anyway.

“Hey, Judo,” he calls to her. “That is home, this is work. Shouldn’t you separate those?” Mi Young has no choice but to agree. Still, she avoids his gaze. Joong Hee sits in his car and wonders if he was too harsh. But, how is he at fault? He gets how difficult it is for Mi Young and the family, but isn’t Dad his father, too?

The next morning at breakfast, Joong Hee waits for the rest of the family before digging in. When Dad comments that he misses Hye Young, Jun Young announces there will be another person moving in, anyway.  “What?” the siblings ask in chorus. He tells them that Yoo Joo and he will live there, too.

Mi Young speaks up. “I don’t agree with this. I am completely against them living in this house.”

“I am against it as well,” chimes in Joong Hee. Is he taking her side to be nice??

Hye Young plugs her recorder pen into her computer. There’s a strange file that she doesn’t recognize. She listens: “Yoo Joo you have not called and you have not apologized. And you just want to get married to Jung Young?”  It dawns on Hye Young for the first time that Mi Young’s high school nemesis is none other than Jun Young’s fiancé, Yoo Joo.

Such a crazy, mixed-up family!

Comments:

  • Joong Hee’s mannerisms and habits are bound to irritate the family to no end. It’s true, he isn’t very sensitive, and like an only child who has never had to think of anyone but himself – his demands seems reasonable to him but outrageous to everyone else. The siblings are boiling at his impudence. So far they’ve avoided a major clash, but can that be too far off?
  • I love Joong Hee’s nickname, Judo, for Mi Young. Unfortunately, he treats her as an intern outside of work, too. It is particularly bad when he doesn’t separate work from home and orders her around there. That will have to stop; thank goodness Hye Young won’t let it go. But then, at the end of the episode, is he taking Mi Young’s side to be supportive?
  • Poor Mi Young! She cries out to the heavens at the unfairness of it all and tries to ignore any confrontation with Joong Hee by avoiding him at work and at home. Finally, she realizes that she can’t run away, and meets him in his office. She is in the worst position of anyone with antagonistic people coming into her life when she never asked for it.
  • What’s with Yoo Joo? What is her story, anyway? She is very hard to read – as an independent woman with a decent career and apartment, you wouldn’t think she would be so agreeable to move in with Jun Young’s parents. Is the apartment that she is living in really her mother’s place who is absent for the time being? She is sort of worried about Mi Young and sort of not – that weak apology is going to be a bone of contention between the two parties. I don’t like Yoo Joo, but to my own surprise, I don’t hate her, either.
  • Once again, the peaceful Mi Young gets pushed around. But, she has a resolve to stand up to Yoo Joo that she has never shown before in her life. It looks like Mi Young will take this to the end. Also, Hye Young is someone good to have on your side. Now that she knows that Yoo Joo is the bully Mi Young has been telling her about lately, she won’t let that go, either.
  • That little Lee Joon chuckle, adorably charming.
  • Was the watch Jun Young had on when he met Yoo Joo is the one Joong Hee gave him as a present?
  • Grandma “the old lady” is awesome! Nothing gets past her and she doesn’t let anything go. Gotta love that.
  • The issues I have with Mom and Dad lying about Joong Hee remain. It can only be a matter of time before Joong Hee’s mother, Soo Jin, appears. Then what?

 

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