Terms of Endearment


Reviewed by: sukting

July 12, 2006

Rating: two

How long
60 episodes

Foreword
It shows the love life of the 3 Jiang sisters. Do they end up being fortunate or unlucky? They are entangled with members from the Lu and Luo families. How do things work out between them?

Story/Introduction on characters

1. Jiang Jin Bo – Chae Sin Ra
She is the eldest sister and becomes a housewife after marrying Zheng Han. She takes good care of her son, Xiu Bin. After knowing that Zheng Han has an affair with Zhen Zhu, she bears with it. But later, she starts to see Ming Xiu to spite him. She has enough being the underdog. Zheng Han is at first trying to ignore this fact but after seeing both together, he divorces her.

Han Jie advises her to give up Xiu Bin’s custody and she gives up unwillingly. At first, she misses her son so much that she cries daily. But she has to train him hard to be independent to lead a life without her. With no working experience, she works from scratch for pizza delivery. At first, she harbours hopes to reconcile with Zheng Han when he calls her to celebrate Xiu Bin’s birthday with him.

But later, he forgets to do it with Zhen Zhu instead. It is very hard on her to keep the fact that she has divorced from her difficult mother-in-law but she is adamant not to return to Zheng Han after the ordeal. Seeing how irresponsible Zheng Han is to Xiu Bin, she gets Xiu Bin back to take care of him. She gets ideas on how to be independent. She is now successful enough to manage a pizza shop.

So she is no longer the meek housewife as in the past and is a career woman. See the change in her when she demands the house to only have her name if they are to be together again. But the couple loves each other too much so they get together. But the tension between Fu Shi and her becomes so great that they part again. Still, they get back together in the end.

Sin Ra’s acting here is so much better than in ‘Cheers for the Women’. But the excessive crying from her will put your patience to test. Sorry, but I really can’t endure this for all.

2. Jiang Zhen Bo – Kim So Hee
She is the second sister and is Zheng Han’s colleague as a lawyer in his law firm. She is independent and also level-headed. She speaks up for Jin Bo to warn Zhen Zhu upon knowing the affair. No one will expect her to fall for Guang Zhe. She bursts into tears upon knowing about Jin Bo’s divorce and Guang Zhe has to calm her down when teaching her lessons. She finally passes her driving test after a few tries. She later marries Guang Zhe to have twins and is having a third child soon.

3. Jiang Yin Bo – Han Kar In
She is the youngest sister and has wondered why Qi Zi ignores her since young. You will find her brainless. Why does she ditch Yun Zhe when he is in the army to cohabit with Sheng Ji? He is such a good for nothing and she has to forgo her dream of being a teacher to work as a waitress at the nightclub to pay off his debts. Yet she lies to her family that she is doing well. Worse when he has no thoughts of marriage even though she is pregnant.

You will feel like drilling sense into her head for still wanting to marry him because of the unborn child although he is so irresponsible. Can you imagine that Sheng Ji’s mother also tries to talk her out of it? But this brainless woman still insists on going through the trouble. Sheng Ji flees on their wedding day and she is shattered upon knowing that she is the daughter of Han Jie’s mistress. She is taken home after she is born. She then moves out, wanting to support her unborn child on her own. But malnutrition causes her to have a miscarriage.

She has arranged to leave with Yun Zhe but Ai Li commits suicide on that day so Yun Zhe doesn’t turn up at the train station. Yin Bo then decides to start a new life by being a teacher at Xian Shi’s school. She is well received by all and she returns home when her family runs into financial difficulties. She thinks that Yun Zhe has betrayed her to back out in the last minute. You will hate her attitude towards Yun Zhe upon knowing that he also works for Xian Shi by sending food to the school. She deliberately kisses Chang Xiu in front of him and accepts all his gifts to hurt him.

But when Yun Zhe isn’t around, she regrets her choice. However she is later touched when Chang Xiu treats her like a gem and forgives her although she has worked in a nightclub before. He doesn’t know that she has a miscarriage and has cohabited with Sheng Ji in the past, though. When she thinks of accepting him, he reduces his chances when he slaps his ex-girlfriend in front of her. But soon they discover that they can’t live without each other to go on better terms again.

Later they patch up to get married but she decides to keep her past from him. This woman is sure weird – she is apologetic upon knowing the truth about Yun Zhe but feels fluttered to know that he is leaving Korea to give her a more settled life. But as like in other soap dramas, he finds out her past and neglects her. Things get worse when his family knows about this and she leaves the family. Even though she is pregnant, she decides to have a divorce to give him a better life. This is such a stupid decision of her to feign losing the baby. She gives birth to a girl and the couple meets 3 years later to be together again.

Kar Yin’s acting is quite okay but like I have said, weepies seldom go well with me unless with adequate reasons. Thus I also find most of the crying scenes redundant. Those who like comedies will not like it.

4. Bai Zhen Zhu
She is Zheng Han’s junior and also colleague. Another identity will be his mistress. She is career-minded and is also an eloquent speaker. She is also revengeful, tricking Jin Bo to agree to the divorce initially. But after knowing her ploy, Zheng Han returns to Jin Bo. She then hires a private investigator to take photos of Jin Bo’s adultery. You can say that she is the catalyst to the marriage breakdown.

Her career is also ruined when she is also fired together with Zheng Han. Actually, she has tried hard enough to please Xiu Bin and Zheng Han’s mother but she fails. Thus she is the one to blurt Jin Bo’s adultery to ruin their chances of reconciling with Fu Shi. Zheng Han is unable to forget Jin Bo so she chooses to leave him to return to the U.S. Her role is actually very pitiful. She goes all out to get her man and to please his family to get nothing in the end.

5. Mei Shan
She is Jin Bo’s friend and is also a divorcee. Having gone through the hard way, she doesn’t want her friend to go through the pain and tries to help her. But I think that she can be too nosy in slapping Zhen Zhu on her behalf! Knowing that Jin Bo’s affair with Ming Xiu will ruin the marriage, she feigns knowing nothing when Zheng Han asks her. But Jin Bo is sure to tell her to ask Ming Xiu not to ruin her when she is supposed to do the talking on her own.

6. Luo Ai Li – Jo Yuh Jung
She is Xian Shi’s daughter and has studied hard to be a jewel designer. Thus she becomes arrogant and wants to have everything. She sets eyes on Yun Zhe after accidentally knocking him down when he is running after Yin Bo. From then onwards, she keeps patronizing his nightclub to look at him. Yun Zhe tries shaking her off by going trekking and she still goes after him in her 8 inch high heels!

Yun Zhe gets drunk on Yin Bo’s wedding day and Ai Li tricks him into believing that both have been to bed together. She tries to be nice to him but he is cold to her upon knowing the truth. She then swallows sleeping pills to tie him down, not wanting to give Yin Bo any chance. She feels insecure even after getting him – and keeps tabs on him and checking his wallet. He still bears with her as he knows that she loves him deeply.

She is overbearing to treat Yin Bo badly to dump the food she has prepared for her after she becomes her sister-in-law. Yin Bo tries hard to please her by becoming a housewife. You will dislike her for digging into her past but will also feel relieved when she decides not to disclose it.

7. Jin Xian Shi – Yoon Mi Ra
She owns a fishing company and business goes well. She also sets up a school to keep boasting about her children’s success. She initially dislikes Ai Li’s choice of Yun Zhe because their first meeting is at her own home and he is working as a cleaner. But later, she starts to appreciate him as he has a head for business when he joins her company. She doesn’t look down on Yin Bo’s past working at a nightclub and still allows her to stay on the job.

But still, she finds her not good enough for Chang Xiu as she doesn’t come from a well-to-do family. So she likes to throw her weight again. Later, she is won over by her cooking and also Yin Bo’s willingness to give up her job to be a housewife. Upon knowing that she hides her dark past and is also Han Jie’s illegitimate child, she wants the two to have a break up.

She hates her to the core when Chang Xiu pushes her aside to prevent her from getting knocked down by a car as she runs across the road without looking. (That scene is very pretentious –overly used in many dramas.) Although he recovers, she never forgives her. That is why Yin Bo also gives up hopes even though Xian Shi allows them to reconcile upon seeing how much Chang Xiu misses her.

8. Qi Zi - Oh Mi Yeon
She is the sisters’ mother and is the pillar of the home. But her hostility towards Yin Bo lies a dark secret. Yin Bo isn’t her child but is Han Jie’s illegitimate child. She has to suppress her disgust as Yin Bo behaves exactly like her mother – even in looks. But after she leaves home, she starts to miss her. When Jin Bo divorces, she tries to find a match for her but seeing how it hurts her, she gives up. However, she is glad that the sisters have matured because of this. She also treats Yin Bo better than.

9. Luo Zhen De – Lee Bo Hee
She is Wan De’s sister but is also a cheat. She is over 30 years old but is jobless, always dreaming of marrying a rich man. She has once absconded with Xian Shi’s money. But fearing the loansharks, she goes for a makeover. That is why she gets deceived by Ma Zhen of the money she gets from Xian Shi, lying that it is for investment. Later, she discovers their scheme when both families meet up. So she forces Ma Zhen to pay back through his salary deduction. She becomes sensible when Chang Xiu gives her money to open an eatery. She works with Ma Zhen and business prospers so they become a couple.

10. Lu Yun Zhe – Ji Sung
He only has a simple dream – to become a teacher with Yin Bo and both will teach in a school. But after his NS, he is very upset to know that she has a change of heart. He feels worse when she is with his closest friend, Sheng Ji. He has not wanted to work in a nightclub but later changes his mind so that he can take care of Yin Bo. After Yin Bo quits, he also quits. He sets up a cleaner company with Fan Xiu and both work together. He still works in Xian Shi’s company.

It is a big blow for him upon seeing Yin Bo with Chang Xiu. He has to bear with the pain to see both so intimate together – Yin Bo ordering the same food as Chang Xiu and also accepting his gifts. The last straw comes when this woman kisses Chang Xiu’s cheek in front of him. This is such a hard blow for him to bear that he becomes ill. The revengeful Yin Bo still refuses to forgive him and both can’t reconcile at all although he tries very hard.

After finding qualities in Ai Li, he starts to appreciate her although her attitude can be overbearing. He comes to take care of her when she is sick and their relationship deepens as they go overseas. But knowing that Yin Bo tries hard to hide her past, he decides to leave Korea to make sure that she leads a quiet life. Once again, Ji Sung’s delivery of a self-sacrificing role will make you like this role.

11. Lu Guang Zhe – Son Hyun Joo
Guang Zhe is Yun Zhe’s elder brother. He is initially working as a cheat with Wan De. But being upright after getting Xian De’s money, he decides to make handicrafts and becomes a car instructor. Laugh when Zhen Bo becomes his student and he shakes his head upon seeing her so slow in learning. He is popular with older women in the school and Zhen Bo is jealous of that.

It is strange that he is only a driving instructor but he throws his weight around. He sounds so arrogant that Qi Zi even thinks that he is a lawyer like Zhen Bo. But she has no choice but to accept him as Zhen Bo loves him so much.

12. Luo Chang Xiu – Song Ii Kook
He is Xian Shi’s son and is the family pride. He gets an accountant degree and works as a director in a big company. He is a womanizer in the past. He comes to the school to look for Xian Shi but is attracted to Yin Bo who mistakens him as the father of a pair of twin sons. He is clumsy when changing their diapers but Yin Bo is strict with him. However, he gets attracted to her and doesn’t correct her mistake.

After that, he lies that he is a divorcee with a child as an excuse to meet her often. Feeling sorry for him for having to take care of a child on his own, Yin Bo gives him tips on how to take care of the child and showers him with toys too. He is alarmed when she discovers his plot (his secretary calls him to settle a deal.) and still tries to win her over. This man is sure ignorant to ask Yun Zhe for his approval to bring Yin Bo out to meet Yun Zhe and Ai Li.

He marries Yin Bo and treats her well. She doesn’t know how to tell him the truth when Sheng Ji’s mother extorts money from her. Yin Bo is so stupid to withdraw a huge sum of money from their joint account and even gives Xian Shi’s necklace to try to shut her up. Chang Xiu happens to know about her past when he overhears her conversation with Ai Li. He has wondered why Yin Bo asks if he can forgive she and recalls that she even tries escaping to the beach she has gone with Yun Zhe in the past on their wedding eve.

He then often goes out with his ex-girlfriend to spite her back. Both get into cold war and he only realizes her importance when she leaves home. She faints by the sea and they reconcile. When Yin Bo wants to divorce him, this man can behave like a woman to try to drown himself at sea. They go through all ups and downs before they can get together again.

Ii Kook acts quite well. He is very expressive in sad or happy scenes. So well that it is a tie between him and Ji Sung that you can’t decide who actually acts better.

13. Liu Zheng Han - Lee Jong Won
He is a lawyer who handles divorce cases. But he can’t help succumbing to Zhen Zhu. It is strange that Korean married men can have affairs but can never tolerate their wives to betray them. He can still be so proud to talk aloud to Jin Bo even though he is in the wrong but Jin Bo has to lower her head when she is at fault. He has initially wished to treat as if nothing has happened. But the photos and the frequent emails/sms between them create tension between them.

They finally divorce and he gets Xiu Bin’s custody to spite Jin Bo back. He pays a high price as he loses his job when his boss knows about his affair when Qi Zi blurts it out at the office. So Zheng Han must seize from her the person she loves most. He sets up his own law firm but business is hard to get as he must take care of Xiu Bin. He finds it tiring and in order to please Zhen Zhu, he leaves Xiu Bin in a boarding school.

See how irresponsible he is – Xiu Bin becomes anti-social and nearly can’t recognize his mother because of this as he can’t fit into a new environment. Zhen Zhu finds out his scheme when Jin Bo demands an explanation from him for Xiu Bin’s treatment. We will find this man extremely greedy – he divorces Jin Bo but yet he is jealous upon seeing her with Ren He. Come on, Zhen Zhu is also with him – he still wants the best of both worlds? He later knows that he loves Jin Bo to reconcile with her.

But she is no longer the traditional woman he knows. She does not do housework that often as she works now and Fu Shi always says nasty things or complains about her. He also feels pressurized as his career goes stagnant. Both have to iron a lot of friction in order to stay together. I think he fares better in ‘Trap of Youth’. He is too wicked in there but not wicked enough in here.

14. Quan Sheng Ji – Park Yong Woo/Mdm Quan
Sheng Ji is Jin Bo’s ex-boyfriend and is sure a parasite. He drops out of university during his second year. He is very lazy and often complains about work – even though he later works in Han Jie’s company for a while. He also treats her like his plaything – going to her for money and putting her as a deposit when he owes the loanshark money. This never ends after he flees from the wedding hall.

He has inherited his genes from his mother. This old woman really knows how to extort Yin Bo repeatedly – to the extent of going to the Lus home besides giving her phone calls. Even when Shen Ji is in jail, she also demands money from her. But she has to put to a stop when Chang Xiu discovers that.

15. Mao Fan Xiu – Lee Jae Won
He is Yun Zhe’s loyal friend and goes through thick or thin. He also works hard with him in cleaning toilets. And laugh at his idea to wear dark suits to work to give their clients a good first impression. He works hard but having a lousy brain in studies, he becomes popular with dancing stunts. He later marries his sweetheart after a long courtship. He has not accepted her at first because she comes from a rich family and is 6 years his junior to call him uncle all the time.

16. Lu Ma Zhen – Jung Han Yong
He is the brothers’ bachelor uncle and is jobless for years. He only wants to become rich overnight so that is why he wants to cheat women’s money. But later, he tries a decent job to end his bad ways. He becomes an item with Zhen De.

17. Jiang Han Jie – Han Jin Hee
He is the sisters’ father. We know why he treats the youngest daughter exceptionally well and Yin Bo blames him for this. He is always remorseful towards her and tries his best to set things right to make her happy. Too bad Sheng Ji fails him and he becomes ill when Yin Bo goes missing. But later they manage to reconcile in the end. He can even forsake his pride to borrow money from Xian Shi to open a pizza shop for Jin Bo. He is really a great father when he also begs Xian Shi to try to take Yin Bo back.

18. Luo Wan De – Jang Yong
He is the man of the house but he lazes at home. He sees no need to work since he has such a capable wife. He will rather buy vegetables from the market or tours with Zhen De. He likes Yin Bo to be his daughter-in-law because he feels like one when she cooks him his favourite food to get served early in the morning. But he also can’t accept her identity of an illegitimate child. He is sad when the marriage breaks up and tries in vain to salvage the situation.

19. Lu Ming Xiu – Jang Hyun Sung
He is also considered the third party into Jin Bo’s marriage. He has not married since knowing her and has been waiting for her till now. Knowing that she is down, he snatches the chance to shower her with the love that he has. But things go sour when she decides to return to Zheng Han. He is like the mistress in ‘Fatal Attraction’ – going to the kindergarten to get close to Xiu Bin and often appearing at her doorstep. When Jin Bo’s marriage fails, he feels bad over it and knows that he can never get her. Still, he wishes her well.

20. Fu Shi – Ban Hyo Jung
This is another difficult mother-in-law like Xian Shi. She can forgive her son for having affairs with Zhen Zhu but she can’t forgive Jin Bo for committing the same mistake. She doesn’t like her to be more capable than Zheng Han so she finds ways to make her stay at home.

Favourite character
None as no one pleases me with their doings.

Most hated character
Almost all, they are not truthful to each other – coming up with packs of lies one after another. Xiu Bin, Jin Bo’s son, is the only person who hasn’t lied at all.

Interesting facts

Chae Sin Ra won the best actress award in the 2004 KBS television awards. Han Ka In also won the outstanding actress award. Sung In Kok and Han Ka In also won the best couple awards. This drama was well received in Korea although I don’t have the figures.

Conclusion

I am baffled to know that it won praises from many because it isn’t the kind of good dramas I have in mind. Do Koreans love crying so much and they don’t grow tired of lengthy dramas? This drama has such an adverse effect on me that I stopped watching Korean dramas for 3 weeks before I start on the next one.

Many will know I do not write long reviews for lousy or long-winded dramas. There is no exception for this one. If I were the producer, I would axe the drama to 10 episodes. It needs it badly! It is so terrible that I stop at episode 4 at my best effort. There are too many crying and repetitive scenes that simply leave me frustrated.

I find out the whole synopsis from the drama novel. Even so, I find the plot long to come in 3 volumes! It is the same as reading a sword fighting drama novel but it is not thrilling at all.

The couples break up and quarrel so frequently till you get sick of them. It is hit further by the over the top acting by most artistes in here. The producer has forgotten entirely about Yun Zhe and Ai Li at the end. Maybe because Ji Sung had to go for his national service after this.

I marvel at how the sisters have so much in common with their father. Han Jie tries to hide the fact that Yin Bo is illegitimate. Yin Bo and Jin Bo try to conceal their past of getting involved with other men. Zhen Bo also lies that Guang Zhe is her colleague.

Although Han Jie lectures his daughters on the importance of marriage, this is not teaching them terms of endearment. All have taken the short cut – to lie or not disclose at all. They seldom heed his advice. They might as well come up with an encyclopedia on how to trick their spouses or or on how to bury their ugly past underground.

But alas, when the truth is uncovered, the consequences can be so disastrous that even the sisters’ parents can’t pick the pieces. Yin Bo and Jin Bo have to carry the guilt for long before they are let off. Strange but I wish to ask – why the Korean men in their context can be spared and released easily but not for women? This is truly sexual discrimination – especially when they are the ones to start affairs first.

I keep shaking my head upon watching as it isn’t appealing. Sorry to say that since it harps so much on superiority on the male gender, I give up watching as I don’t like women to be belittled. I am a traditional Chinese woman but definitely not an overly submissive one. There are too many negative things in here that only appear in the 70s Hong Kong or Taiwanese dramas. Korean dramas should make a better head start if they wish to keep the Korean drama wave moving.

The only attractive factor is the acting from the two male leads and not really the actresses as the sisters. It is high time to realize that crying need nor necessary touch one’s hearts anymore. There are still many ways to act to make a serial a success.

Sukting’s ratings :

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

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



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