Title: 강남엄마 따라잡기 / Catch a Kang Nam Mother
Also known as: Chasing after Kang Nam’s Mothers
Ha Hee Ra as Hyun Min Joo
Yoo Joon Sang as Seo Sung Won
Kim Sung Eun as Han Soo Jin
Jung Sun Kyung as Lee Mi Kyung
Im Sung Min as Yoon Soo Mi
Myeong Sae Chang as Choi Jin Woo (Min Joo’s son)
Sun Woo Jae Duk as Lee Joon Ho (Soo Mi’s husband)
Park Eun Bin as Lee Ji Yeon (Soo Mi’s daughter)
Kim Hak Joon as Lee Chang Hoon
Kim Il Woo as Do Sang Sik (Mi Kyung’s husband)
Lee Min Ho as Do Joon Ong (Mi Kyung’s son)
Min Joo (played by Ha Hee-ra), a resident of the Kang Buk area (north of the Han river), decides to move to Kang Nam after his son, the smartest student in his school, received one of the poorest marks in an English contest against students in Kang Nam. Min Joo’s friend Soo Mi (played by Im Sung Min), a Kang Nam resident who Min Joo expect can give her more information about this area, look down on her and bluntly emphasize the educational gap between the two regions, that moms in Kang Nam area shared information such as ‘30 new entrance in Ivy League universities this year,’ and that students in Kang Nam area wear and carry designer luxury goods. With the help of her best friend, Mi Kyung (Jung Sun Kyung), who also wants to move to Kang Nam for the sake of his son education, Min Joo finally can afford to move to Kang Nam.
However, after she live in this area, she later find out that Kang Nam is not as good as it seems. Using the power of money, the moms are apparently more powerful than the school. Children are forced to join various kind of course because of their mom’s ambition to make them the best students. Information about how to get the best education and tutors for the children is only shared among those who accepted to be in the mom’s league. Soo Mi who does not like Min Joo, influences her fellow members in the league to hate Min Joo so that she can’t join them and give her hard times.
Looking closer, there are no sincerity in the friendship between those moms in the league as well. They are actually compete each other to show off whose kids is the best. Because of this, they are not reluctant to backstab or betray one another.
Other characters in this drama are Seo Sung Won (Yoo Joon Sang) and Han Soo Jin (Kim Sung Eun). Sung Won is Min Joo’s son’s teacher and her tenant, who has looks and brains as well to make him a good catch in the eyes of many women. Han Soo Jin comes from a rich family background, and became a teacher with the purest intentions of wanting to provide an education for children. She is a physical education teacher and she becomes involved in a love competition with Min Joo for the affections of Sung Won.
Credits: Dramawiki, Soompi Forum
My Comment :
The cast members of this drama might be not attractive enough for some people to try to watch this drama since it consists more of senior actors (or in other words : ahjummas and ahjussis). But the fact is, this drama is really good and worth to watch. Although it is a satire, the drama is full of message especially for mothers. Funny and sad scenes were mixed very well and make it really entertaining .
For those who would like to buy the DVD box set,just beware that some DVD comes only in 16 episodes while the complete episodes should be 18..I said so because I got a DVD box set with English subtitle and bilingual (Korean and Chinese audio) which consisted only 16 episodes. So at first I thought that it had an open ending (Spoiler! The end of episode 16th showed Soo Mi son’s committed suicide) . As I’m curious as why fellow Soompier at Soompi Forum said this drama was good while the ending was like that, I checked the discussion on its thread there in more details and later found out that actually there were still 2 more episodes. I finally ended up downloading episode 17 and 18 but had to watch it without English subtitle since there were no fansubber subbed this drama.
By the way, if the season 2 of this drama were going to be made, I would gladly welcome it .I really want to see Min Joo and Sung Won’s relationship to be developed further. Although Sung Won was dating Soo Jin, but it was obvious that their characters were not match at all. Instead, Sung Won and Mi Joo will be a nice couple as they have great chemistry. However, this will only be my wishful thinking since we know it is rare for K-Drama to have sequels .
Articles Related To This Drama :
Credits : Ruby@Soompi
Debates Over “Gangnam Moms”
(This article has been edited by me)
JUNE 28, 2007 03:14
SBS soap opera called “Catching Up with Moms in Gangnam” (most affluent districts of Seoul in the south of the Han River) premiered on June 25 (written by Kim Hyeon-hee, produced by Hong Chang-wook, Monday and Tuesday at 9:55 p.m.). Afterward, debates over the education frenzy of Gangnam moms erupted again.
The TV drama received a viewership rating of 14.1 percent on June 25, and 16.2 percent on June 26 (according to TNS Media Korea), the highest among all TV programs on at the same hour.
The controversy centers on the lifestyles of Gangnam moms featured in this drama. About 500 articles have been posted on the official website of the drama written by moms in both areas. Park Myeong-suk, a housewife married for 10 years and residing in Gangnam said in her posting, “Many residents in the Daechi-dong apartment complex moved to this area for their children’s education and they mostly rent. Though there are many rich people in the neighborhood, most of them are just members of the general public burdened with living costs and educational fees.
Hong Chun-gi said in another posting, “The drama shows children wearing designer clothes and adoring the Tower Palace (a luxury apartment complex). But in reality, not all Gangnam moms buy their kids luxuries and many are bargain hunters. The drama should not overgeneralize people in this neighborhood.”
Kim Hyeon-suk added in another posting, “Characters in the drama easily talk about a ‘billion won,’ but not many have that much money in this region. Our only guilt is that we sold our house and land just to come here for the sake of our children’s education.”
On the other hand, Ahn Mun-ju, a mom seemingly residing in non-Gangnam area, said, “The only people who search for cheap clothes in Gangnam stores are those who are from non-Seoul areas. If you look at people at a bookstore in Gangnam for an hour, you would see eight out of ten buy expensive items. Some merchants say you have to sell expensive clothes in Gangnam because otherwise your business is in trouble.”
Mun Seon-hee said, “I once worked part-time at a kindergarten in Gangnam. I saw kids who went on overseas trips to Europe, China, and Latin America every summer vacation. So I felt I was a stranger there.” Lim Chung-sun, a Gangbuk mom, said, “It’s discomforting to watch the drama. It seems to me that people in Gangnam area do not consider nor understand people living side by side with them.”
SBS Drama Chief Producer Gu Bon-geun explained the subject matter of the drama, saying, “We wanted to expose controversial issues straightforwardly and discuss them.”
Drama Reveals lives of Gangnam Mothers
A sensitive dispute has been going on for a long time over the educational gap between the Gangnam and Gangbuk areas in Seoul, with students from Gangnam, or the district south of the Han River, showing better academic performance.
Secrets behind this phenomenon are being revealed through a TV drama that clearly discloses the powerful and adventurous lives of mothers in Gangnam who take every possible means to get their kids into the country’s prestigious universities.
SBS primetime drama “Gangnam Mothers,” which airs every Monday and Tuesday at 10 p.m., brings the secretive lives of extremely devoted Korean mothers to light with a touch of slight sarcasm and comedy. The drama, which also carries a number of sensitive issues involving the country’s education policy and improper relationships between teachers and parents, became an early success by garnering a 16.6 percent share last week, according to TNS Media Research. The drama, however, has also stirred heated criticism that it has overly-parodied mothers in Gangnam.
“I wouldn’t deny the fact the drama depicts a substantial amount of reality. But it still bothers me, because not every Gangnam mother is like that,” said a mother living in Gangnam requesting anonymity. The producer of the drama said he never intended to make people in Gangnam look more superior or make comparison with mothers in Gangbuk (north of the river), and it was the reality that he wanted to show.
“Because the drama depicts reality, it makes viewers uncomfortable,” said Hong Chang-wook, producer of the SBS primetime drama.
“Nobody blames if the drama deals with fantasy. The drama shows the problems with presenting gifts (money) to teachers for taking extra care of their children, describes the fall of the public education system and the rise of private education, hard-core mothers in Gangnam, and parents moving their houses to Gangam in order to offer the best education for kids. And these are certainly not fantasies,” said Hong.
The drama tells the story of Hyun Min-ju (played by Ha Hee-ra,) an extremely devoted mother who moves to Gangnam to offer her son the best education in the country.
Min-ju is a hard-working woman — working as a waitress in the afternoon and designated driver for hire at night — who takes care of a son after her husband died of a tragic accident. Although her single parent status makes her struggle, when compared to other housewives driving expensive cars and wearing high-class fashion, she finds happiness when seeing her smart son who takes the top grades at his school even without attending any private education courses.
Min-ju never believed in the power of Gangnam education but decides to move to the area of the privileged after Jin-woo, her son, failed to get a good mark on an English test for which a lot of students from the Gangnam area demonstrated their superior language skills, developed by specialized classes in the area.
Although the two move to Gangnam, things don’t get any easier. Experiencing an enormous financial gap, Min-ju fails to be a part of a group of Gangnam mothers. The group forms a secret team to separate their kids from other groups at a hagwon and specially organize classes according to their grades and parents’ social ranks.
Min-ju’s old high school friend Yoon Soo-mi (played by Im Sung-min) stands at the center of the secretive group and has two kids who are doing great in school. Although Min-ju nearly begs Soo-mi to let her in her circle, Soo-mi blocks her from being a part of the network. At the end, Min-ju declares war on Soo-mi, saying she will do better than her.
The drama is likely to stir up other controversies as it is scheduled to deal with sensitive issues, such as teachers manipulating grades in exchange for receiving bribes from parents, or the teacher evaluation system proposed by the government.
Asked about the intention of bringing up those contentious issues, the producer said: “It is to tell that there are other ways to be successful rather than sticking to the title of the university. I am ready to get fierce responses from viewers. But I did my best to portray the lives of Gangnam mothers by meeting teachers, mothers in the area as well as researching related information and documents involving the area.”
Some viewers seem to have already understood the moral idea.
“Mothers will later realize what they were doing was just having a day dream. They may have succeeded in letting their kids enter one of the prestigious universities in the country, but what is really important is what happens after that. It is kids who decide what to do for their lives, not mothers,” said a mother living in Gangnam, who has finished with her war after sending her two children to universities.
By Cho Chung-un
[TV Review] A Neighborhood That’s Rich In Madness
July 11, 2007
If you live in southern Seoul without 1 billion won ($1 million) in the bank, drive a foreign-made luxury sedan without 2 billion won or send your child to study abroad without 3 billion won, you are insane. At least that’s the view expressed by a popular new TV drama, “Keeping Up with the ‘Gangnam’ Mothers” on SBS-TV.
I have a bitter sense of satisfaction that I do not meet any of the three conditions, especially as I agree with the Cheshire cat in “Alice in the Wonderland” who grinned and said, “We are all mad here. I’m mad, you’re mad.”
One doesn’t need a knowledge of English literature to understand the show’s premise, just a little local data. For example, the word “Gangnam” in the title means “southern Seoul,” yet it implies a critical social divide between north and south of the Han River. Apparently it’s not just the Korean Peninsula that is divided into North and South.
Southern Seoul is associated with everything upscale. Children there are rumored to have money to burn and use Gucci erasers which cost 140,000 won. Well, I have not felt any terrifying inconvenience during my several decades of living in northern Seoul. Instead I have been appalled by things like the absurdly overpriced (and amazingly insipid) soft shell crab pasta at a so-called hotshot Italian restaurant in Cheongdam-dong, southern Seoul. Of course, it’s not wise to generalize from a bowl of pasta or a Gucci eraser. Yet, that is precisely what “Gangnam Mothers” does and viewers seem to love it.
Southern Seoul is described in the show as a place with all the best middle schools, fathers with money, mothers with information about the best educational opportunities and where children enjoy a higher chance of going to prestigious universities.
Meanwhile, northern Seoul is described as a place with an inferior living and educational environment for the terminally un-chic.
Min-ju, the show’s lead character, dreams of moving to southern Seoul, when she learns that her ingenious son is falling behind the well-heeled children in southern Seoul. To Min-ju, a widowed single mother, her son means everything and she is ready to do anything for him, including running up debts to get a lease for an apartment near a prestigious middle school, lying to her best friend and trying to bribe her son’s homeroom teacher.
The TV drama’s online bulletin board has received a flood of messages that condemn the producers for what the protesters say are extreme descriptions. However, a change of strategy seems to be the last thing that the producers seem to have in mind. To them, the fact that viewers are reacting to the drama is a sure sign that viewers are intrigued and will keep watching. And one plaudit this show deserves is that it has stayed away from the hackneyed Cinderella formula which is currently so common.
In the meantime, I have no plan (yet) to move to southern Seoul while I’m still enjoying my life in the north.
But I have to confess that this drama has successfully annihilated my confidence about raising children in northern Seoul. It seems to be an enormous burden in this country to raise children and support them through prestigious universities.
Would it be too irresponsible for me to say that I will let my children live their lives as they wish? According to this drama, it would be. I mean, I can’t imagine ending a day waiting until 1 a.m. for my children to finish class at a private institute, which was exactly what the southern Seoul mothers were doing in the show last week. Isn’t it an obsession to force all your hope on your children like that? Well, according to the “reality check” offered by this TV drama, I would be a crazy mother who had abandoned responsibility for my children if I didn’t.
The Cheshire Cat seems to be right. We are all mad in this wonderland world.
By Chun Su jin [email@example.com]
Na Eh No Rae (TV Version)-Moonlight Fairy[L/D][4Sahred] [Buy Now]
About this song : I love this song. It can be said as Sung Won’s theme. Every time Sung Won needed to cheer up or fighting for good things, this songs would be played in background. Beside this song, there is still another Sung Won’s theme song. It’s a whistle song which played every time he started to act quirky and funny :) but only the vocal version of this song included in the OST album .