I was thrilled when I discovered Jang Na-Ra was starring in the new romantic comedy Oh My Baby. However, when I finished the show I felt just like I did when The Legend of the Blue Sea was over – slightly disappointed it didn’t live up to my expectations.
After spending the past ten years working to further her career, Jang Ha-Ri is crushed when she discovers her dream of being a mother may never become a reality. When her doctor informs her she has endometriosis, and once a needed operation is complete her chances of getting pregnant are slim to none, unmarried and without a boyfriend, Ha-Ri decides to quickly find a sperm donor. She begins her hunt for just the right guy and ends up with three candidates – the man she works with who is 12 years her junior, the man who has been her closest friend since they were kids, and the man who turned her down flat when she tried hitting on him a year ago.
For the past 15 years Jang Na-Ri has been employed at Dachae Media, working for The Baby, the only infant care magazine in the entire country. After all that time she has finally earned her way up to the position of Deputy Editor, the second in command, and she’s excellent at what she does. Because she loves her job she made it her first priority for a decade and a half, in fact, she hasn’t even dated for the past ten years. Ever, since she was a little girl she has wanted to be a mother, just like her own mom. When she was still quite young her father decided he no longer wanted a family and walked away from it all, leaving her mother to raise Ha-Ri alone. Because her mom did such a good job at balancing work and motherhood Ha-Ri knows she would also make a wonderful single mother and has decided to not give up on her dream, even if that means finding a sperm donor.
After being in a relationship for 17 years Han Yi-Sang was devastated when his sweetheart left him. He blamed himself for the break-up, built a wall around his heart, and decided to never fall in love again. Because of his curiosity and the fact that he loves to challenge himself, he tries to forget his pain by living the life of a carefree bachelor, tackling things he’s never done before and recording his achievements through pictures on his social media account. Although he is a well known freelance photographer, he decides to work with an old friend at Jambi Studio, the place contracted to take photos for The Baby magazine. When Yi-Sang sees Ha-Ri he instantly recognizes her from a night a year ago when the pretty young stranger hit on him at a party.
Yoon Jae-Young and Ha-Ri’s mothers were close friends so the kids grew up together (Jae-Young is one month younger than Ha-Ri) and have been best buddies all their lives. Although he developed romantic feelings for her when they were in middle school, he suppressed them and eventually ended up marrying another woman, a doctor like himself. Sadly, after they had a baby she walked away, leaving Jae-Young to take care of their infant daughter on his own. Divorced, he took a leave of absence from his job as a pediatrician and he and his little girl moved in with Ha-Ri and her mother. Now older, and single once again, Jae-Young has decided to not hide his real feelings for Ha-Ri any more.
Choi Kang Eun-Tteum has been employed by Dachae Media for slightly less than a year and works in the advertising department of The Baby magazine. He is young, handsome, cheerful, helpful, possesses an excellent work ethic, and always has a positive attitude. He looks to Ha-Ri as a mentor until he learns of her heartache and desire to find a suitable sperm donor, and then the feeling of sympathy he has for his colleague quickly turns to one of love. When he discovers, through a work related physical, that he has more than the normal amount of sperm, he decides to make Ha-Ri’s dream come true – he’ll be her husband and give her the baby she so desperately wants.
The role of Jang Ha-Ri is played by one of my most favorite actresses, Jang Na-Ra. You can read about this extremely talented lady in my review of Go Back Couple.
The part of Han Yi-Sang is played by Go Jun. He began his acting career in 2006 through the motion picture Once in a Summer. His first time in a Kdrama came four years later when he was given a part in Dr. Champ. As I was watching this I remembered him from his role in Misty. Unfortunately, I didn’t like Misty or his character in it so I’m glad I saw him in this because he made Yi-Sang such a sweet guy. Go Jun won a Star of the Year Award and a Best Supporting Actor award for his acting in last year’s drama The Fiery Priest.
The character Yoon Jae-Young was played by 42 year old Park Byung-Eun. His acting debut came in 2000 but it wasn’t until 2008 that he got his chance at his first major role which happened to be in the film The Pit and the Pendulum. In 2015 he was finally able to sign with a management company because of the praise and attention he had received for his performance in the film Assassination. A year later he received his first leading role in the movie One Line. In 2017 he branched out to TV with a part in the romantic comedy Because This is My First Life. Oh My Baby is his eighth Kdrama.
Actor Jung Gun-Joo, who plays the part of darling Choi Kang Eu-Tteum, began his entertainment career running at full speed. In 2018 he was in four different Kdramas (including the emotional Should We Kiss First and The Third Charm, which was so good it made its way onto my favorite Kdramas list) and three webdramas. Last year at the MBC Drama Awards he was nominated for a Best New Actor award for his performance in Extraordinary You. Oh, he also made an appearance in Day6’s music video I Like You.
I wrongly assumed this drama would be about a gal who falls for three guys who all like her and she has to decided which one she wants to be with. That sounded much more fun than what the drama is actually about. Ha-Ri chooses, right away, which guy she likes and the rest of the show is about how she comes to terms with the fact that she had allowed her life-long goal (of having her own family) to slip through her fingers and might never be a wife and mother. To make things more difficult she works at a magazine especially designed to help parents be better mothers and fathers. Ouch. That’s just rubbing salt in her wound.
The story never once mentions adoption as an option, probably because Ha-Ri wants so desperately to be a biological mother, but it’s too bad that idea wasn’t brought into the mix. One thing this drama taught me is that in South Korea “… there is no method for an unmarried woman to obtain a sperm donor.” Because I have absolutely no knowledge on this subject I turned to Wikipedia and discovered that laws on sperm donation and artificial insemination vary from country to country. My guess is that South Korea wants children to grow up in a stable, traditional family with a mother and father, whereas in the U.S. a single woman is allowed to get a sperm donation and raise her child alone. Interesting.
This drama is No Sun-Jae’s first attempt at screenwriting. Although it didn’t live up to my expectations, this show isn’t a bad kickoff to a Kdrama writing career. Unfortunately, I wasn’t thrilled with Oh My Baby’s ending – not that it was a bad way to wrap things up, I just think it would have been better to end things with a bit more realism. The way writer No chose to finish things just emphasized the fact that these were make believe characters in a fictional story.
Director Nam Ki-Hoon did an awesome job. He (I’m assuming this person is male) sets up one of the most visually romantic scenes I’ve ever seen – one that’s right up there with the beautiful cola kiss scene in Lie to Me. Yi-Sang and Ha-Ri are together in the middle of some tall, golden grass in the early morning and as they inch closer to each other we see less and less of the pale blue sky between the couple. Perfectly lovely.
Oh My Baby was aired on a cable channel which always gets less of an audience than the dramas that are shown on free to view channels. Its highest rated episode was its second one with only 2.950% and the lowest rated episode was the 15th (second to last) which scored a sad 1.370%. It seems the story didn’t hold the South Korean audience’s attention well enough for them to want to find out what happened to these characters.
I really enjoyed this drama’s soundtrack. The six main songs are played enough that we are able to hum the melodies but not so much that we become sick of them. A few of my favorite songs are Goodbye, a lovely ballad gently sung by Soyou; Raindrops, an upbeat ballad performed by Cheese; Beautiful, a peaceful song lovingly crooned by Kim Sung-Kyu; and the cheerful sounding opening song, Only You performed by Martin Smith.
There’s nothing in the show’s setting/background that comes across as exceptional, however, I really liked the house Ha-Ri lived in. It was a huge home with full living quarters downstairs (which is where Ha-Ri’s mother and Jae-Young lived with his daughter, Do-Ha) and another full living space upstairs (which is where Ha-Ri lived) with the two only being separated by a door at the top of the stairs. A nice set up. She could live independently and with her mother at the same time.
Although it’s not the perfect way to structure a sentence I want to end my review of Oh My Baby with a quote from Ha-Ri’s friend and former boss. It’s pretty blunt but, in its own way, quite empowering.
“We usually view our own path as empty. It’s the same for everybody to go through the path that they chose even if by crawling.”
I wish you good luck and happiness as you stroll down the path you have chosen.
New topic for discussion
A visually beautiful, romantic scene in the tall grass
Not as romantic as I expected
Other than Jang Na-Ra there aren’t a lot of big stars