Precious Family


Reviewed by: sukting

December 05, 2007

Rating: three-point-five

Foreword
This top-rated Korean family drama is one of the best-rated series in Korea during its entire telecast. Precious Family is a touching story that awakens us to the fact of how important and precious having a family is. This heartwarming drama shows how members of a good-natured family endure life’s hardships and how the love they have for each other helps them weather the many difficulties they face.

Story/Introduction on characters

1.An Zai Hao : Song Jae Ho
He is the caring father and is also an elementary school vice principal. His sister hopes that he can become a principal after his retirement but he loses to a younger man. Still, he takes things easy. He has the habit of writing to his dead parents, thus the title of the drama comes. As calm as he is, he is called the president as he leaves all home matters to his wife. We will often see him reading a book.

But when knowing that Cheng Shi is being battered by Chang Xiu, this old man shows his anger for once by slapping him. Still, he gives Chang Xiu a chance to be with his children after the divorce to learn to become a good father. He knows that Ya Li and Yu Hua need time to get along with each other so he becomes the mediator. Cheng Mei also goes to him when her marriage plans fails. That is why all his children consult him when they have troubles.


2. Jin Yu Hua : Kim Hae Sook
She is also a doting mother and is the finance minister. She cares for all the children and is heartbroken to know of Cheng Shi’s divorce. She accepts this fate and tries to provide for her as much as she can. When Ya Li and Mei Yan marry into the family, she tends to compare the two of them initially but later find both to have merits to treat them as her daughters.

3. An Cheng Shi : Kim Hee Ae
She is the eldest daughter and marries her husband right after her high school education even though she can get into the law faculty. She has two children, Shan Ya who is in high school and also an autistic son, Jun Yi. She spends all her time taking care of her son. Although Chang Siu hits her when he is drunk, he bears with him. But upon knowing that he has an affair, she decides to divorce him. There is no turning back and being a strong woman, she faces it bravely and tries to look for a job.

She can be quite stubborn at times – she doesn’t want Chang Xiu to keep tabs on her as he freezes their account and she can only withdraw cash by using a credit card. Chang Xiu reminds her that she has not helped to accumulate his wealth and she only spends his money all this while so he has this right. The relationship between them improves when he spends more time with them after the breakup. He teaches her to be firmer with Jun Yi before he goes to work overseas. This is only now that she realises that they are still in love with each other.

4. An Zhi Huan : Jang Hyun Sung
He is a very responsible eldest son who works in a bank. He is also a man with few words. He can be so ignorant – he doesn’t suspect that his sister is planning a divorce when she withdraws a lot of money from her joint account with Chang Xiu. The whole family can’t believe that a rich woman can fall for him too as he is hardly a romantic.

Unlike other men who jump at the chance, he has initially wanted a breakup. He finds that their personalities are too different and he knows that she will not want to live in with his family. He feels uncomfortable when they try to make him stay overnight one day after a drink. He is also worried that he can’t handle the in-laws’ business after marriage too. But Zai Hao boasts his confidence to try out.

After marriage, he starts to find his life complete. Do enjoy the scenes where he washes the dishes with his wife. Although Ya Li often creates mistakes, he is happy with her. But other family members are also important to him and he is always beside them. As a filial son, he also knows that Mr Song is very lonely so he doesn’t mind moving in to stay with him.

5. An Cheng Mei: Lee Yoo Ri
She is the youngest in the family and works in Seoul. She may seem to be a pampered darling at home but she is tough at work. That is why she can’t stand men who loathe on the job. She can’t accept the way that Xing Biao and Zheng Huan are so dependent on their families. Seeing how Cheng Shi’s marriage breaks up shakes her confidence in love. That is why she hesitates becoming a pair with Xing Biao who doesn’t seem to have any plans for the future. When she decides to marry him, he turns her down as he knows that she can never become a housewife for him. She is sad over it but her family helps her to overcome the grief.

6. An Zheng Huan : Lee Dong Wook
He is the younger son who drops out from university, dreaming to become a boss one day. He is carefree and cheerful. His family members shake their heads whenever he tries borrowing money from them to set up stalls. They give him the nickname ‘name’ as he often expects treats. He tries to squeeze money out from everyone. His plan changes every minute – from opening a chicken feet stall to an eatery. He works at construction sites, video shops and also at Mei Yan’s chicken feet stall. Finally he sets up a food stall with his own money. But he can be very blunt, hurting everyone with his sharp remarks.

Be amused when he behaves like a housewife to bargain over purchasing of utensils. He is also calculative to take whatever he can find at home to use at his food stall – even getting his mother to cook dishes for him! Cheng Mei isn’t the one pampered – he is the one. When he starts earning some money, he becomes frightened of marriage because his future is uncertain. His friends find him thinking too much and he should not let Mei Yan wait for him for 3 years.

He is pushed into marriage within a week under the Wus’ insistence. He chooses to stay with his parents after marriage to save money. Zhi Huan and Ya Li prepare honeymoon air tickets and lodging for the couple. His thrifty nature surfaces again – he tries to save up by refunding for money to go to an island nearby instead of the Jiju island. He even suggests staying at a cheap motel instead of the hotel. He can’t rest his mind over his business even for these few days that he gets Cheng Mei and Ya Li to help him out.

Laugh when he whines so much for attention when he is sick. But he truly treats Mei Yan well. He often reminds his parents to treat both young women with fairness. He is also a man with principles. Zhi Huan and his in-laws offer to buy him a new car when his own car breaks down. He rejects them reluctantly as he wants to be independent. Jin Zhu knows that he can’t get a good deal so she buys a new car, offering her present one to her. After Zhi Huan moves out, he becomes more responsible and filial to his parents.

7. Zhao Zan Hao : Lee Chan
Unlike Zheng Huan, he is very realistic and warm-hearted. He is also a very hardworking man. That is why Zai Hao feels safe for Zheng Huan to work with him. So close they are to allow him to use their home kitchen to cook! However, he is in a dilemma as his friends dislike his ex-girlfriend, Shun Zhi and they advise him not to accept her again. When he ignores their advice to get hurt again, they still stand by him to give him their support as they treat him as their brother.

8. Li Xing Biao: Jung Joon
He is like Zheng Huan who dreams to be his own boss. But Zheng Huan has not asked his family for the money and collaborates with his friends over the opening. He harbours over his father’s wealth to start a business. Cheng Mei shakes her head whenever she sees him spending money recklessly. Both do not expect to fall for each other. Zheng Huan opposes to them being together.

He becomes mature overnight when his father has a stroke. They press him to marry another woman who can stay at home to take care of his father while he manages the family business with his mother. He knows that Cheng Mei dreads this kind of life and rejects on her behalf to choose a woman he doesn’t love.

9. Piao Chang Xiu : Huh Joon Ho
He is Cheng Shi’s ex-husband who is so afraid about having another child like Jun Yi so he goes for vascomony without his family’s knowledge. He has given up on Jun Yi. Yet, he still gets involved with a bar hostess. He gathers that she isn’t having his child although she is pregnant. He thinks that Cheng Shi will not want a divorce after knowing this but it is his act that disappoints her.

He has been unsuccessful in life – he fails in doing any business that he is involved and keeps asking money from his mother too. After the divorce, he starts to appreciate his family and through taking care of Jun Yi through a skiing trip, he finally knows how much she has been through. He teaches Cheng Shi to be more firm with him if not she will have a hard time raising him up.

10. Piao Xiu Ya : Park Ji Mi (the actress as the young You Li in ‘Staircase to Heaven’)
She is a sensible elder daughter who has lots of patience with her younger brother. She wants her father to deal with his mistress while she helps to keep from his mother. She tries in vain to dissuade Cheng Shi from having a divorce so she wants to run away from home. Later, she accepts the fact that Chang Xiu is in the wrong but her ties with Chang Xiu improves upon seeing how he tries hard to change himself.

She also reverts to have talking terms with her grandmother. She falls for Xun Bian, a university student and keeps asking him out. Xun Bian doesn’t reject her as he treats her and Jun Yi like his younger siblings.

What a change from her evil role from ‘Staircase to heaven’! She is so thoughtful of other people’s feelings and is such a sweet person. Laugh when Chang Xiu keeps going to her for advice on how to take care of Jun Yi and she has to teach him step by step.

11. Piao Jun Yi : Yoo Seung Ho
He is autistic and takes a long time to follow simple instructions. Cheng Shi has to teach him patiently. He will cause lots of headaches when shouting at home or getting missing suddenly. I must give this boy the best acting award. He shows Jun Yi’s emotional side. The first time I saw him was in ‘The Way Home" - a heartwarming story about a boy and his deaf-mute grandmother. Seung Ho made the spoilt grandson come alive in the movie. So is him here.

12. An Jin Zhu : Kim Bo Yeon
She is the siblings’ aunt and Zai Hao’s younger sister. She is a hairdresser who moves back home as her marriage breaks up after 4 years. Her ex-husband detests her for being unable to conceive so she doesn’t believe in marriage anymore. She treats Zheng Huan like a son and prepares to give everything to him when she is old. She loves to sing at home to lift everyone’s spirits up. Little do their bother know that she is aware from young that she is adopted. She feels a sense of loss although her adoptive family treats her well but isn’t keen to look for her own family.

She has a very sharp tongue which many find it very hard to handle. She is the last person to keep a secret so the siblings often choose to keep to themselves. Zai Hao tries to matchmake her with a man. She deliberately turns up wearing fishing net stockings and hideous nail polish. But she finds the man easy to talk to and they become friends instead.

13. Song Ya Li : Song Sun Mi
She is Zhi Huan’s girlfriend. Her family arranges her for matchmaking sessions but she knows that all are insincere to her as they only eye her family wealth. Zhi Huan is her senior since university and she knows he is just the right man for her. That is why she refuses to give up even though he wants to break up with her and is even willing to move into his home after marriage.

Both are happily married but she becomes the first bride in history to break her arm accidentally within one hour after entering the house. She has problems adapting to Yu Hua’s way of doing things at home. Shi Huan has to remind her not to show off her wealth unintentionally as Yu Hua is very sensitive. Zai Hao and Yu Hua initially wish them to move out after Zheng Huan gets married. But fearing that she will lose the 1st daughter- in- law position, she insists to stay – much more to her in-laws’ amusement.

She has many problems getting along with Mei Yan initially. She is talkative and frank while she is a total opposite. Ya Li is also jealous of her for managing housework well. But slowly, they become as close as sisters when she gets pregnant. She becomes reluctant when she has to move out.

14. Wu Mei Yan : Lee Min Young
She is Zheng Huan's elementary school classmate and she gets him to work at her mother’s stall. She works at the post office and aspires to become a successful writer. However, her pieces are often unselected so she resigns to become a full-time writer. She falls for Zheng Huan and initially says out of impulsive that she is dating him. That worsens the matter as her parents get anxious to marry her off early while Zheng Huan has no intention to do so as his career has just started off.

Initially, Zheng Huan doesn’t have the thought of having children. But after seeing how Zhi Huan moves out and his parents feel lonely, he feels that it is about time since he earns enough. Mei Yan is pleased that he starts to plan now – not harping on money issues as in the past.

Unlike Ya Li who is loveable and bubbly, she tends to be very quiet. Yu Hua initially tends to compare her with Ya Li but soon discovers her merits. She is worried when she knows that she isn’t as likable as Ya Li but Jin Zhu gives her support. There is once she accidentally cuts her finger in the kitchen. Ya Li makes a big fuss over her and this makes her feel that she is her sister-in-law for the first time.

15. Mr Wu : Kim Yong Gun
He is a cab driver but he supports with Mei Yan’s decision to quit and go into full-time writing. Knowing that Mei Yan likes Zheng Huan, he is willing to undergo any humiliation from the An family. He tries hard to suppress his desire for Ming Shu but yet he can’t help getting jealous when seeing how Mr Cui woos her.

16. Mrs Wu : Kim Dong Soo
She opens a chicken feet shop and regrets her decision to marry Mr Wu when young. She doesn’t approve with Mei Yan’s decision to marry Zheng Huan as he isn’t earning much. Still, she agrees unwillingly to the marriage and is fierce to remind Yu Hua not to ill-treat her daughter. Her tongue is sharper than Jin Zhu and Yu Hua often worries when they meet Mr Song as she will sprout nonsense.

17. Mr Song
He only has Ya Li as his child and he gives in to her. He finds Zhi Huan reliable and welcomes him with open arms. But he is dismayed that Ya Li wants to move in with his family. Although doubtful, he has nothing to say. Be touched when he cries on her wedding day as he is going to miss her. Whenever she returns home, he showers her with lots of food. He is firm that she should stay with their in-laws for 1 year. He keeps his heart condition from her but chooses to retire early to stay near her. Zai Hao allows the young couple to move in with him and this makes him happy.

18. Mrs Piao (She acted as Zhen Xian’s mother in ‘My name is Kim Sam Soon’)
She is Chang Xiu’s mother who never approves of their marriage. She isolates from them after Jun Yi is born. Still, she is angry over Chang Xiu’s affair and doesn’t want them to divorce. When Cheng Shi insists on that, she takes the house back and even thinks of separating Xiu Ya from Cheng Shi since she is normal. Later, she learns to accept Jun Yi after spending time with them when Chang Xiu is away.

19. Liu Kui Zhi
He is Zheng Huan’s resourceful friend who comes from the underworld. He is wise to quite from his unlawful past to become a businessman. He only finishes his high-school education but he manages to earn a lot of money to provide for his family. He settles Mr Wu’s gambling debt and is able to find a good location for Zheng Huan to set up a good stall. He also stands up for Cheng Mei when she gets harassed. He is a person whom all can count on him for help. Wonder why Cheng Mei doesn’t love him?

20. Yin Cai Ying
She is Cheng Mei’s roommate in Seoul. She comes from a broken family and doesn’t believe in love. She had numerous boyfriends but all relationships don’t work. She becomes interested in Xing Biao but knowing that Xing Biao likes Cheng Biao, she opts out. She doesn’t understand why Cheng Mei chooses to give him up when she can enjoy a wonderful life. To her, this is not a sacrifice but a fortune.

21. Yuan Xin Zhe
He is Zheng Huan’s friend who owns a vcd rental shop. He has bug tooth so he has slight problems in speech. That is why Zheng Huan nearly faints upon knowing that he wants to be his wedding emcee. Luckily, he becomes too nervous and has to back up to let Zan Hao replace him. Still, all are amused Although he often grumbles over Zheng Huan’s stingy nature, he still provides meal treats and even helps out at his eating stall when he is free.

22. Ming Shu
She is Mrs Wu’s foster sister and assistant in the chicken feet shop. She is a total opposite from her boss. She loves freedom and encourages Mei Yan to get away from home. She shakes her head upon seeing how Mrs Wu quarrels with Yu Hua over the marriage. She initially shows interest in Mr Wu but later Mr Cui, not getting afraid to be the stepmother of his 3 children.

23. Huang Hui Ying
She is Cheng Shi’s ex-classmate. Although her results are not as good as her, she becomes a doctor. It is so coincidental that she does a checkup for Chang Xiu’s mistress to discover about their affair. She encourages to seek an independent life and helps her to look for a job.

24. Shen Xun Bian – Choi Si Won from Super Junior
He is a university student who brings Jun Yi back to his home when he loses his way. Xiu Ya falls in love with him at first sight and doesn’t give up even though he has a girlfriend.

Favourite character
Zhi Huan – he is filial to his parents and is also a loving husband. Many will melt upon seeing how he takes care of Ya Li – even to feed her when she injured her hand.

Most hated character
Mrs Wu – she looks down on Zheng Huan for not having a stable job. Because of her low esteem, she is bothered on how others think of her and often talks aloud. That is why Yu Hua finds it hard to take to her but yet they become in-laws.

Interesting facts
This drama dominated the top ratings for weeks over the weekends when it was aired.It marked a 30% viewership as its finale. Dong Wook acted in this drama before taking up ‘My Girl’. He enjoyed the filming process as the veterans really treated him like their son and they were one big family.
Since first airing, the drama got comments that it helped viewers realize the importance of family and humane warmth by simply showing trivial happenings occurring in the family. The epic center of warmth was from actor Song Jae-ho who ardently played the old Mr An. He, who writes to his parents resting in a tomb on a hill behind his house every evening, was the one who got all the clues for solving family problems. Mr. Song said that during the making of the show, he often reminded himself of the meaning of family, thinking a lot about his youngest son who died on a car accident in 2000 January and his father who passed away when he was a child.

He felt sorry that it was ending. He thought they could extend the show a little bit more. The viewers want it to continue. Song attributed the success of this drama to the point that it has evoked people to think about the meaning of family that has almost been forgotten in modern society. It shows the trust existing between family members. He also regrets that Korean society is losing the desirable aspect of family angled in the drama. Song explains the obedience that the four children showed to their parents’ words in the drama that it was not because of An’s patriarchal and authoritarian character, but it was because he was a genuine father who was able to listen with a warm heart to his children’s stories.
In all problems, the children come and share counsel with their father. The father figure in the drama is the forgotten one as well as the one sought after by the younger generation, who tries so hard to figure out the answers to their problems all alone. The mother figure, although strict and less approachable, will still offer warm hugs to her children when they need them.

In the previous shows, the fathers were like dictators controlling everything, but Ahn in the drama was warm and tolerant who would rather make reasonable rules than exert authority. Lastly he added his real family story at the end. His own daughter who got married told him that his figure in the drama was similar to him in his family. Hearing this, he was pretty pleased as a father.

Conclusion

This drama is very heartwarming as it shows how closely knitted this family is. The acting is flawless as they show genuinely how a family functions when new members join them. There are conflicts and also disagreements because all come from different backgrounds. But this turn to understanding when time comes by. Each member has a problem to face but the other members will support them along the way, regardless of the decision. I strongly recommend it to viewers who need to get away from romance dramas from a while. It touches on many issues and teaches ways on how to get along with family members.

Sukting’s ratings :

On acting : **** (Scale of 5)

On story : ***1/2 (Scale of 5)


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