Single Papa in Love (2008)

Korean title: 싱글파파는 열애중 (Sing-geul Papa-neun Yeo-rae-joong)
Episodes: 16
Director: Moon Bo-hyeon
Scriptwriter: Oh Sang-hee

What’s popping:

A lot at first, but if you tuned in to the final episode last night, the open-ending ruined it. After the credits started rolling, a fellow drama viewer commented, “What kind of show is this? There’s a beginning but no (proper) end.”

I like Single Papa in Love for various reasons. For one, the pacing is tight and while watching the story unfold, it didn’t feel like things were being dragged out to the point of absurdity. Also the characters didn’t skirt around important issues too much.

For instance when Jeon Hari (Heo I-jae) falls for the handsome single parent Pung-ho (Oh Ji-ho), she confesses it. When Yoon Soi‘s secret about her being San‘s (Ahn Do-kyu) birth mother is revealed, the events surrounding the issue develops at an engaging pace. It’s enjoyable because things move rapidly without over-the-top melodrama.

I may have missed the first few episodes (I didn’t see the part where Hari and Pung-ho meet for the first time) but still got hooked on it after that.

Playtime: Daddy (Oh Ji-ho) gets an instant (and free)
back massage from San (Ahn Do-kyu)

Another good thing about the show is that the characters are interesting. Oh Ji-ho’s titular character is the kind of guy chicks dig: good-looking, responsible, sensitive, nurturing and hardworking, Pung-ho’s only flaw (perhaps) is that he isn’t rich. This Daddy, who is a pest exterminator by day and a boxer by night, has a tough time making ends meet, especially when his young son San is hospitalised.

The camaraderie between Pung-ho and his 7-year-old boy is absolutely believable. I have to give props to both Oh Ji-ho and Ahn Do-kyu for convincingly portraying a loving father-son pair. The adorable duo goes through the parent-child motions so effortlessly.

The supporting characters are interesting in their own right. Medic student and Pung-ho’s love interest – Jeon Hari – is a bubbly and cheery girl who is always extending a helping hand to the pair. The smitten young lady wears her heart on her sleeve, so it’s pretty sad sometimes when her advances towards Pung-ho is shot down and trampled on…again and again.

Living the good life: Yoon Soi (Kang Seong-yeon, left) and
Dr. Jeon (Park Cheon-hwan) drink to their good health & wealth

San’s mother, Yoon Soi (Kang Seong-yeon), has her own demons to battle before finally accepting her past decisions and its present consequences.

Meanwhile caught in the middle is Dr. Jeon (Park Cheon-hwan) – Hari’s father and Yoon Soi’s fiance – who handles the sticky situation he finds himself in really well. And who can forget the duo of Sangtae (Lee Doo-il) and Chilgoo (Shin Dong-hee of SuJu), well-meaning family friends who more often than not, provide the comedy.

Crunch time: Chilgoo (Shin Dong-hee, right) gives Pung-ho
(Oh ji-ho, lying down) a hand while Sangtae (Lee Doo-il) looks on

With so much invested in the relationships, especially that of Pung-ho and San, it’s really frustrating to see how things are left off.

The final episode is devoted to Pung-ho “settling” things with those he love because Daddy, like San, is diagnosed with brain tumour and will be undergoing an extremely risky operation.

If you think that’s bad, it gets worse…if you are poor, clueless San. You see, Daddy doesn’t tell San his real reason for leaving him with Mom.

Good old Dad, who thinks he is doing San a favour, tells the kid a bunch of lies knowing that he may not survive the ordeal. Oh, I can just imagine San growing up to be a bitter man, who is a compulsive liar.

Ladies’ man: Pung-ho is the man of the moment.
With him is Jeon Hari (Heo I-jae, right) and Yoon Soi

So what happens to Daddy? Your guess is as good as mine. My fellow drama viewer’s conclusion is, “Aiyah, he dies-lah.”

Do you, like me, find the ending annoying?

The plot:

The drama follows the ups and downs of Kang Pung-ho, a single parent who strives to be a good father to his young son, San. Things get complicated when his former lover and San’s mother, who abandoned them for a career six years ago, comes back into their lives.

Too cute: Absolutely adorable child
actor Ahn Do-kyu plays San in the series

Apart from that, the father and son go through many challenges when San, and later Pung-ho, is diagnosed with brain tumour.

The drama did not enjoy good ratings when it aired in Korea. For more on the ratings, please hit this link. Maybe the drama ended the way it did because of the poor ratings. The screenwriter could have given up on the story since the response was lukewarm.

Watch it:
In Malaysia, the drama started airing on the KBS World network (Astro Channel 303) in March 2008.

I guess you’ll have to get the DVD boxset.

Pics credit: HanCinema

Related Single Papa in Love entries:
Single Papa in Love
Oh Ji-ho is a Daddy

5 thoughts on “Single Papa in Love (2008)

  • May 12, 2008 at 3:58 pm

    yeah…i was also so disappointed! if they want me to make a conclusion of my own, i dunt need to watch the series! i thought Pung Ho would have survived the operation since he lied to his son. It would be pityful for San not to be able to say goodbye to his dad.
    I was planning to buy the boxset later on since i miss out on many episodes but now i rather not waste my hard earned money!

  • May 7, 2008 at 11:51 am

    i too am disappointed in the ending (even though I watched it without subtitles and don’t speak a lick of Korean). it doesn’t take subtitles to get what’s going on…

    truthfully, i wanted to like this drama since Oh Ji-Ho’s in it, but i never really got into it. don’t quite know why. the adult characters were downright irritating to me.

  • May 7, 2008 at 8:32 am

    i’m totally disappointed with the ending since i watched it from ep.1..poor lil’ san, how could pungho do something like that?? if he just tell the truth, at least that poor boy wont wait for him to return everyday & move on… anyway, love san very much..he act really well & cute & lovable too…

  • May 7, 2008 at 2:49 am

    I stayed up till 4.10am watching the final episode on Astro and it was so not worth sacrificing my beauty sleep over. I can’t believe he lied to the son either. I guess no one expects San to question why his father is never returning from training?! He basically guaranteed his son a lifetime of therapy. what were the writers thinking?

  • May 7, 2008 at 1:12 am

    aww! i like that first picture where the boy is stepping on Oh Ji Ho’s back. they have the same hairstyle.

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