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The Atypical Family Mid-Season Review: Jang Ki Yong and Chun Woo Hee starrer K-drama explores the story of a fractured family with fading superpowers

en Bollywood News The Atypical Family Mid-Season Review: Jang Ki Yong and Chun Woo Hee starrer K-drama explores the story of a fractured family with fading superpowers

Marking Jang’s first K-drama post military enlistment, this premiered on Netflix on May 4, 2024.

Remember Disney’s 2021 movie Encanto? In a vibrant Colombian village, the Madrigal family lives in a magical house, Casita. Each member, blessed with a unique gift, serves the community. Mirabel, however, feels like an outsider. Unlike her flower-wielding sister Isabela or super-strong Luisa, Mirabel has no magical talent. But when the magic surrounding their home falters, Mirabel becomes their only hope. On a quest to save the miracle, she discovers it wasn't a gift, but family love that truly makes the magic work. The new Korean drama The Atypical Family has similar storyline featuring Bok family. The 12-episode series premiered on May 4, 2024. With 6 episodes already aired, the story sets the tone about the family their faltering powers and how the hidden power of Bok In Na, the child of the family, may change their destinies. Led by Jang Ki Yong, this marks his first K-drama since his military enlistment, alongside Chun Woo Hee, Park So Yi, Claudia Kim, Go Doo Shim, and Oh Man Seok.

The Atypical Family Mid-Season Review: Jang Ki Yong and Chun Woo Hee starrer K-drama delves into a fractured family with fading superpowers

The Atypical Family Mid-Season Review: Jang Ki Yong and Chun Woo Hee starrer K-drama explores the story of a fractured family with fading superpowers

The Atypical Family follows the Bok family which possesses superpowers but modern living has strained their powers. They can no longer tap into their powers and that has led to cracks in the family. Bok Gwi Joo (played by Jang Ki Yong) is a depressed young man who has a daughter named In Na (played by Park So Yi). He lost his beloved wife in a terrifying accident but he survived the same without a scratch. In Na blames herself for her parents’ misfortune.

Then enters Do Da Hee (Chun Woo Hee), a skilled masseuse, who also happens to be a fraudster. Gwi Joo’s mother Bok Man Heum (played by Go Doo Shim) has been unable to sleep peacefully and Da Hee’s massage session puts her to sleep immediately. Impressed by Da Hee’s skills, Man Heum invites her home. Da Hee begins living with the Bok family as their assistant and helper.

Gwi Joo and Da Hee share an animosity between them but soon we see that Man Heum’s attempts to get them together results in the blossoming of romance between the two. This romance feels anything but forced. Gwi Joo’s attraction towards Da Hee is firstly just curiosity which is then mixed with confusion. There is clearly a lack of chemistry between the two. Da Hee chances upon creating situations to her benefit, leading her to walking towards the altar with Gwi Joo. Hopefully, after Da Hee’s confession about her and her family intending to scam the Bok family, they will see things straight and keep things cordial at best with Da Hee.

The Atypical Family Mid-Season Review: Jang Ki Yong and Chun Woo Hee starrer K-drama delves into a fractured family with fading superpowers

The Atypical Family isn't your average drama. It pushes viewers to reflect on the pitfalls of modern life. Through the Boks, the show subtly warns against succumbing to common temptations. Indulging in delicious but unhealthy fast food or spending hours glued to video games might seem appealing in the moment, but these choices ultimately harm our physical and mental well-being. The series offers a grown-up twist on the magical family theme. Like Encanto, the Bok family possesses extraordinary abilities – time travel, premonition, and flight. But unlike the Disney movie, this K-drama deals with real-world struggles. Modern life disrupts their powers, mirroring mental health issues and addiction. This darker take promises a fresh exploration of family bonds and the lingering effects of past hurts.

The drama might seem confusing at first especially with Gwi Joo’s time travel to past and future but it sure finds its path as the story moves ahead. In isolation, each character carries their story well and it complements the others well in this K-drama but it is a slow process. It took the creators six episodes to get this far. Things have definitely changed for the better for the Bok family with Da Hee’s arrival. While Da Hee is scamming the Bok family, her adopted sister is working to get Bok Dong Hee’s boyfriend. But there are still questions that await answers. The plot is inching towards a successful ending, but its progression is quite slow.

The Atypical Family Mid-Season Review: Jang Ki Yong and Chun Woo Hee starrer K-drama delves into a fractured family with fading superpowers

In a surprising departure from his usual roles, Jang Ki Yong delivers a nuanced portrayal of Bok Gwi Joo, a man burdened by grief. Though initially presented as simply depressed, Gwi Joo's story unfolds as a complex web of internal struggles. Haunted by his wife's death and his colleague’s death, he's trapped in a cycle of negative thoughts, impacting all his relationships. The audience yearns for him to find solace in a happy memory, but such moments seem perpetually out of reach. Yet, his heartfelt attempts to reconnect with his daughter In Na reveal a deep desire to rebuild his life.

Chun Woo Hee's Do Da Hee is a fascinating counterpoint. A survivour of hardship from a young age, she's become fiercely independent, fending for herself at every turn. When Gwi Joo intervenes twice as her savior, a flicker of security sparks within her. While this explains their growing connection, it's not purely a romantic draw. Da Hee's cunning nature cleverly disguised beneath a demure exterior creates a captivating enigma. She's far more resourceful and complex than her initial appearance suggests.

The rest of the cast deliver memorable performances. Whenever they are on screen, there is something new to hold on to. With Man Heum, we see that her ability to see the future in her dreams is returning. She is able to figure out Da Hee’s plans. She is a typical mother who wishes to see her son married and living happily. She is also smart and will not let her wealth be handed off so easily. Her husband, Eon Soon Gu (played by Oh Man Seok), barely has anything pivotal to do in the entire drama so far. He does not seem to have powers, or atleast they are not revealed yet. He plays the role of a support system for his family.

The Atypical Family Mid-Season Review: Jang Ki Yong and Chun Woo Hee starrer K-drama delves into a fractured family with fading superpowers

Gwi Joo's sister, Bok Dong Hee (played by Claudia Kim), raises concerns. On the show, gained significant weight due to an eating disorder, losing her ability to fly. While an interesting plot point, Chaudia Kim's portrayal using a fat suit and prosthetics feels insensitive.

The Atypical Family is an atypical K-drama. With the characters simply falling into each other’s plans, so far the end goal of each of them is quite unclear. But that is what sets this K-drama apart from the rest. As the characters look within themselves to heal from their traumas, they also help each other grow as human beings. There is also a commentary on the rich and poor divide somewhere in terms of Da Hee’s adopted family living hand to mouth and finding their next rich targets to scam.

While Do Da Hee’s arrival did shift the dynamics in the family, her shocking altar confession – a fraud, not a miracle worker – shattered their hope. The Boks, yearning to reclaim their lost powers and escape their slump, now face not only a broken dream but the question of their past deeds. Da Hee, on the other hand, plays a different game. Her ragtag adopted family are seasoned scammers, targeting the wealthy for their gain. Na, the reserved Bok daughter, surprisingly found a connection with Da Hee, adding a layer of unexpected complexity.

The Atypical Family Mid-Season Review: Jang Ki Yong and Chun Woo Hee starrer K-drama delves into a fractured family with fading superpowers

So, after the end of the sixth episode, how will the Bok family face the situation? While the Bok family intends to get out of their slump and restore their powers, there is not much known about their past activities with these powers. Additionally, Da Hee and her disjointed adopted family have their intentions straight. It does seem like the hidden power of Bok In Na might be the real saviour of the family but we will have to wait to see how the next six episodes pan out.

Interestingly, the Korean title, Although I'm Not a Hero, for the show The Atypical Family subverts the lightheartedness of the English title. This "atypical existence" might be burdened by the weight of Bok family’s internal struggles. The Korean title seemingly reflects and questions the need for superpowers and whether it is needed to be heroes in each other's lives.

One can surely expect some worthwhile revelations in regards to the Bok family and their future endeavors. For a family that is unlike any other family we have seen and yet feels relatable to an extent, the Bok family has surely made their place in the viewers’ heart and mind with all their quirky and extraordinary glory. What are your thoughts on The Atypical Family? Tell us in the comments below!

Watch the trailer for The Atypical Family here:

 

Also Read: From Song Kang Ho starrer Uncle Samsik to Jang Ki Yong-led Atypical Family, 9 K-dramas to add to your watchlist in May 2024


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