What would you call a handsome young man willing to happily clean up after you, give you organizational tips, do your laundry, and even cook dinner for you now and then?… Your House Helper, of course.
Here’s another Kdrama whose plot isn’t as important as its characters. In fact, you could say the plot is its characters. The story is about a professional “house helper” who ends up befriending a few of his clients and kindly helps them clean up their lives and emotions as well as their dwelling space and, in so doing, cleans up his own troubles as well.
At first glance Kim Ji-Woon looks like he should be a runway model or maybe a plastic surgeon, not at all like a good old fashioned maid but that’s exactly what he is – a house helper, and one of the best and most sought after in the business. He does the cleaning himself but also instructs the person living in the home how to keep things clean and organized long after he’s fixed everything. Ji-Woon is a matter-of-fact sort of guy. When he’s not cleaning he works at the cafe/bar that is just under his room (where he lives). Ji-Woon is hiding a sad past and knows, first hand, what it is like to loose someone you love.
Although Im Da-Young is an intern at an advertising company, she’s doing everything within her power to be hired there full time. She runs personal errands for her co-workers and boss, catering to their every desire in hopes of proving herself indispensable. When her architect father passed away she inherited the huge house he built when she was a child. In order to pay her bills/debts she decides to rent out two spare rooms in the house and her best pals from high school (who she hasn’t spoken to in many years because of a falling out) answer the call. But before they move in she needs to do some serious house cleaning. After her father’s death she moved everything from his work office into the house and things are much more than simply cluttered. Da-Young decides to hire Kim Ji-Woon to help her get the house ready for her new roommates.
Go Won-Hee is a jewelry designer. Unfortunately, the guy she’s working for was financially swindled and it looks like she might be responsible for his business debt – a hefty, substantial one! Won-Hee is being pursued by a wonderful, kind attorney but won’t even think about beginning a relationship with him until her financial situation improves. Her appearance is of the upmost importance to her and she puts a lot of stock in how others view her. She’s a lot tougher than she looks.
Because of a traumatic experience she went through when she was 17 years old, Han So-Mi is absolutely petrified of men. She finds it next to impossible to carry on a conversation with almost anyone male, never looking them in the eyes. She owns her own nail shop and, although her place isn’t always full of people, she makes a fine living at her artistic craft. When she meets a young male customer who is willing to help her overcome her fear of the opposite sex she begins to realize she’s a lot stronger that she thought she was.
The minute Attorney Kwon Jin-Kook first lays eyes on Sang-A he falls completely in love with her. When he accidentally spills red wine on her new white jacket he insists on paying for it which results in him needing her personal information and from there things begin to snowball. Jin-Kook is kind, complementary, and wants nothing more than for Sang-A to lean on him for help and support. It doesn’t take long for her to realize Jin-Kook is a gem of a guy. Coincidently, Attorney Kwon helped Da-Young with some legal matters after her father passed away.
The actors and actresses in Your House Helper are not huge stars. This drama isn’t a first for any of them but, excluding Ha Seok-Jin, none of them have been the main character in a mega hit film or TV drama so, unfortunately, there’s not much of a biography I can give on any of them. I can, however, give you a mini filmography on each one…
Ha Seok-Jin, the actor who plays the part of Kim Ji-Woon, made his entrance into the world of entertainment by way of a 2005 commercial for Korean Air. That same year he appeared in two TV dramas and followed those up the next year with two motion picture roles. After the 2008 movie Summer Whispers he just concentrated on his TV roles. Then, after an eight year absence from film, he went back to the big screen and made a cameo appearance in the 2016 motion picture, Likes for Likes. I know him from the Kdramas One Percent of Something and Radiant Office. All the things I’ve seen him in have been even-keel shows with him as a so-so character. I think he has a lot more potential as an actor than the roles he’s been given so far. I’d like to see what he could do with a really juicy part, something with major intensity.
The character of Im Da-Young is played by Kim Ji-Yeon, who is better known by her stage name Bona. She is a singer in the 13 member group Cosmic Girls (aka WJSN) and their subunit Wonder Unit. After debuting with Cosmic Girls in 2016 she branched off into acting the following year with the Kdrama Hit the Top. Since then she’s been in the drama Girl’s Generation 1979 as well as making a cameo appearance in Radio Romance.
In 2011 Go Won-Hee, who plays Yoon Sang-A, began her entertainment career as a commercial model, in fact, in 2012 she was the youngest model ever for Asiana Airlines. She’s been in music videos, TV dramas, and feature films. I’ve seen her in The Time That I Loved You, 7,000 Days and Strongest Deliveryman. In 2015 she became a cast member of Saturday Night Live Korea.
The actress who plays Han So-Mi, Seo Eun-A, went to the Korea National University of Arts School of Drama, majoring in Acting and minoring in Dance. In 2005 it was Dove commercials that started her on her way to winning the Best New Actress award for her performance in the film Act, for which she beat out 200 other young women for the role of Ha Yeon-Ni. She has performed on TV, in film, and on the stage. The shows she’s been in that I’ve seen are Flower Boys Next Door, Missing Noir M, Signal, Tunnel, and My Sassy Girl.
Lee Ji-Hoon, who plays the part of Attorney Kwon Jin-Kook, made his acting debut in the teen drama School 2013. His big screen debut came in 2012 when he played a “passerby” in Return of the Mafia. Dramas I’ve seen that he’s been in are Blood, Go Ho’s Starry Night, The Legend of the Blue Sea, and Whisper.
Kim Ji-Woon is an expert in cleaning and organizing. “If you ask me what is a priority when organizing, my first answer is ‘shoes by the entrance.’ Any shoes that hurt my feet, or pretty ones I never wear, must be thrown out the door. Beloved old shoes with worn out souls, I will make the decision whether to fix them or throw them out. And that, is the start of organization.” What a brilliant idea! The best place to start is always at the beginning so organize your front entryway first. Makes perfect sense.
Ji-Woon tells Da-Young that one organizing idea is “… to take pictures of things that are special to you but that you will never need or use and then get rid of the stuff. Now, these things are not thrown away, just turned into memories.” How clever is that? A disc with photos on it takes up virtually no space. That’s a superb idea for getting rid of clutter.
The meaningful thing about Your House Helper is the fact that Ji-Woon doesn’t just organize the girls’ dwelling place. More importantly, he helps them organize their lives and straighten out their emotions – “[Mr. Kim] does not simply just clean and organize. The thoughts that are tangled up with the objects messily strewn about… He helps me organize them, too,” Da-Young tells us. Along the way Ji-Woon gets rid of the heavy baggage in his own life and heart. In helping others he helps himself.
There really isn’t anything wrong with this drama – no “oops” that I caught, no irritating characters, no obnoxious directing, the writing and acting is fine… the only problem this show has is the fact that it lacks “umph.” It glides along evenly, no boat-rocking, no jaw-dropping surprises, just a story about friends. The character growth is excellent, though. Every single character is a better person at the conclusion of the drama than when the show began, and that says a lot.
This 32 half hour episode drama is chock full of great advice sprinkled throughout the storyline. We, the audience, learn as we listen to Ji-Woon explain some cleaning or cooking tips to his customers and at the end of a few episodes he often teaches us how to clean something the best/most efficient way. So make sure you watch this show with a paper and pencil handy so you can jot down a few helpful cleaning hints now and then.
As far as the music is concerned The Sea You Are is an excellent semi-slow song sung by Sanchez. I really liked Smile Again, which is sung by Juniel. The song compliments her smooth, soprano voice. Paxchild sings and raps the soft rock song You You. The song Someday is performed by Jang Na-Ra. I love her, both as an actress and a singer, and it was a wonderful surprise to find her singing on the soundtrack of a drama she wasn’t even in.
There are three main places of focus in this drama’s storyline – Da-Young’s beautiful house, the advertising agency office where Da-Young works, and the cafe/bar where Ji-Woon works part time and lives. I loved how the living room in the house Da-Young’s father designed had one slightly higher level that went to a bedroom. There’s also a staircase on that level that leads up to another floor. It’s quite unique.
Whether it’s organizing your home or your life, you can feel confident taking this wonderful advice from Your House Helper – “To say a firm goodbye to things you let go means to treasure the things you choose to keep. That is his proposal on how to organize.”
Wonderful character growth
Interesting cleaning advice
Small mysteries to figure out about the characters
Even keel story
No bad guys
Could have used more kisses
No excellence – mediocre everything