The Family Man

Reviewed by: Em

May 17, 2004

Rating: four-point-five

Ko Hoi - Paul Chun Pui
Ko Yuk Yee - Jay Lau Kam Ling
Ko Pui Yee (Tracy) - Flora Chan Wai San
Ko Bo Yee (Bobo) - Sonija Kwok Sin Lei
Ko Chui Yee - Myolie Wu Hang Yee
Siu Hin Wah (Kelvin) - Moses Chan Ho
Tai Kwong Ming - Michael Tong Man Lung
Hui Shing Chi (Ken) - Tsang Wai Kuen
Wai Chung Kit - So Chi Wai
Lui Lik - Cheng Tsz Shing

Story Overview

A parent's first priority rests with the children and when you are a single father bringing up four daughters, this instinct is reinforced tenfold. Ko Hoi is a widower whose wife died not long after giving birth to their fourth child and he was left with the role of both mother and father to the girls. The sisters learn to stick together from an early age, joining forces to fend off bullies and earning themselves quite a reputation for being feisty and self-sufficient, whilst appreciating the efforts of their "Superdad" and helping him to keep the home in order.

After having served for many years in the police force, Hoi finally ends up in the Police Force Band with an easier life. Working under the kindly care of Lung Sir and with his old band buddies, he has achieved his goal in his working life and now moves his concerns to the marital affairs of his girls who have each made their own lives. Yuk Yee is a beautician and has a rocky marriage to Chun Kit, who has his own small courier company but is forever being compared to Yuk's rich friends. Pui Yee and her fiance Ken have their own toy company and are planning to get married soon. Bo Yee is a successful magazine editor, known for her controversial, but thoughtful writings and criticisms of men. Youngest daughter Chui Yee is studying at university with a never ending string of boyfriends.

Life is never as simple as it seems and in a short space of time, everything in this perfect family starts to fall apart. Yuk and Kit decide to go through with a divorce, each finding new, rather unlikely, partners. Ken disappears just before he marries Pui Yee, leaving her to pick up the pieces with the company in debt and the love-hate relationship with lender turned manager Kelvin. Bo Yee's nemesis Lui Lik introduces a ghost writer Tai Kwong Ming to the office to create friction with her and eventually breaks down her hard exterior. As for Chui Yee, after fending off a rather eager pursuer finds herself falling in love for real.

As the problems reach a peak and a love hexagon is created, Hoi finds things hard to bear as he tries to put everything right for his precious girls. To top this off, he finds out that he needs a vital operation for his heart condition but he daren't let his own problems affect his family.

In summary, this show is a light-hearted yet thought-provoking approach to a complicated story on the conflicts of love, career, family and friendships. The storylines are typical of family affairs, but address some of the more difficult situations which can arise and how they can easily be blown out of proportion with an accurate portrayal of how career-minded young people of today can be blind to the needs of the people around them and the importance of family life.

My Thoughts

This is the show to watch snuggled up with a hot cup of cocoa, nice warm blanket and your favourite fluffy toy. It is heartwarming, the characters are all lovable and believable and there is an enjoyable balance of joyfulness and disappointments, with a pinch of frustration when things don't quite go the way you want them to. An ending which moved me to tears (sentimental being that I am) topped off what I felt was one of the most decent productions to be churned out from TVB recently.

The characters were all cast superbly. Paul Chun is at his usual high standard as the long-suffering, caring father and the four daughters each showed their individual traits very well whilst also uniting convincingly as a family unit. Jay as an envious, wanting-more young wife, Flora as an outwardly-strong inwardly-sensitive businesswoman, Sonija as the feminist who finally sees the likeable side of men and Myolie doing what she does best as the innocent, yet obstinate child figure. Not forgetting the playboy with a deeper side in Moses, the caring, unappreciated husband in So Chi Wai and the secretly super-intelligent Michael. This mix of personalities is well portrayed and interact seamlessly, making you part of the action, feeling the emotions for each character in turn and finding the positive in each of them despite their respective bad points.

My favourite scene in the show has to be the part towards the end where the four girls are gathered around Paul Chun in the hospital gardens and he is explaining why he has decided to go for the operation. As he tells the tale of the old tree and the little boy, his daughters listen on intently and tears start to stream down their faces as they realise the meaning of their father's words, expressing his love and aspirations for each of them metaphorically through the story. As I watched this, I could feel the extreme emotions from each of the girls and Paul and uncontrollable wells of tears started to form in my own eyes. For a TV series to invoke such a strong reaction is quite an amazing feat.

As for the best actor/actress, apart from the obvious Paul Chun who continues to be amazing in whatever he does, the person who stood out was Moses Chan. From despising his character initially through to understanding his past and then seeing the sensitive, caring side of him later on, I felt he did a fantastic job of gradually unveiling this hidden side to Kelvin. Having thought little of his rather wooden performances in other shows, I felt that he has gone through a transformation - either that or this character must have been written with him in mind.

I have very little criticism of this series, apart from the little annoyances like the overuse of the lullaby signifying Ken and Pui Yee's relationship and the rather pointless introduction of Lung Sir as a love interest for Pui Yee. Overall it was very enjoyable, the length was acceptable and the story took you to the right point at which to leave. If you are not a romantic, you may find this show a little tedious, but we all need a little cheering up sometimes and it certainly achieves this goal.

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