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Once Again (한번다녀왔습니다) [2020]


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Once Again (한 번 다녀왔습니다)

 

fullsizephoto1165804.jpgpicture cr: hancinema

 

Broadcasting: KBS, 2020

Genre: Family, Comedy, Romance

Writer: Yang Hee Seung, Ahn Ah Reum (Familiar Wife, Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo, Oh My Ghost)

Director: Lee Jae Sang (Father is Strange, Trot's Lovers, Sol Pharmacy's Son)

Episodes: 100 (35 minutes each)

Release date : March 28, 2020 ~ September 13, 2020

Lead Actors: Chun Ho Jin, Cha Hwa Yeon, Lee Min Jung, Lee Sang Yeob, Oh Dae Hwan, Oh Yoon Ah, Lee Cho Hee, Lee Sang Yi, Kim Bo Yeon, Lee Jung Eun

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Drama Introduction (taken, edited and translated from Once Again official website)

It might be a miracle for a man and a woman who have lived in different worlds to start a family through marriage. In particular, for young people these days, where individual self-actualization is more important than a sense of responsibility as a member of society, divorce is becoming something that is uncontrollable. However... the parents who lived in the previous era cannot understand the lives of their children. This is because in their days, marriage was a sacred and unbreakable thing that is protected by endurance and responsibility.

 

For parents, the family comes first, but for children, the individual comes first. For parents, a good reason is important, but for children, their own happiness is important. Parents' hearts break because of their children’s divorce. This drama aims to show how everyone completes their search for happiness through the gap between parents and children and for the younger generation who is going through the crisis of divorce.

 

Characters introduction and their background stories:

Song Young Dal and Jang Ok Boon have married for many years and they have 4 children, Song Joon Seon, Song Ga Hee, Song Na Hee and Song Da Hee (1 son and 3 daughters). Together with Ok Boon’s sister Ok Ja, they work in a fried chicken restaurant in Yong Ju traditional market, owned by the couple.

 

Song Young Dal is the chairman of the merchant association. Young Dal is quite strict about money, even with his own children, and he has his reasons. When he was young, he was poor and lost his mother because of illness. Taking care of himself and his younger sister wasn’t easy, so he decided to send away his sister to a better place. But, one day when he looked for her, he heard shocking news that his sister was sick and passed away. Until now he always blamed himself.

 

Ok Boon might have grumbled about Young Dal's strictness about money, but she understood because she knew about his past. Ok Boon only has a simple wish for her children, for them to live well and happily with their own family. She had never imagined the day when her eldest son and daughter came to her house bringing their belongings (and son in her daughter's case) and announced that they have gotten a divorce and will move back in to live with her. While she thought she could move on from that pain by celebrating her youngest's wedding, on that same night, her youngest comes back home saying that she wished to annul her marriage. Now her only hope is her second daughter...

 

The eldest, Joon Seon works as a stunt-man, a job that he likes and passionate for. He is married to Hyun Kyung, and they have 2 daughters. Joon Seon is too kind to others and often forgets that he is the head of his family. He tried to open a business but it failed. He even got scammed by his junior who borrowed money from him and caused him to lose his house. Working as a stunt-man with dangerous actions makes him hurt his body and even break his bones. Tired of not being the priority in Joon Seon's life, and not wanting to hate him any longer, Hyun Kyung asked him for a divorce. Joon Seon actually still loves Hyun Kyung and wants to give her proof that he can change and learn from his mistake. But, he also loves his job as a stuntman...

 

The eldest daughter, Song Ga Hee used to work as flight attendant. She's married to a pilot and together they have a son. She retired and now she is just a housewife. One day she caught her husband cheating on her red-handed with her junior stewardess. She immediately asked for a divorce and moved back to her parents' house with her son. It happened in the same year as Joon Seon's divorce. She has been living with the money from the child support that is provided by her ex-husband, however, she can’t live forever by only depending on that money. She needs to find something to do, and at the very least she need to do everything for her son Ji Hoon's sake.

 

The second daughter Song Na Hee is a pediatrician. She is the pride of her family, especially for her mother. She works in a children hospital. She's married to Yoon Gyu Jin, a pediatrician who also works in the same hospital as her. They were a campus couple during their medical school days. To others, Na Hee and Gyu Jin might look great and happy as a couple, but actually their married life isn't doing very well. They constantly argue with each other over every small detail. Also, the constant nagging from Yoon Jung, Gyu Jin’s mother (who also happened a high school mate of Ok Boon), about Na Hee's character that didn't suit her view, and the neutral stance that Gyu Jin took between his mother and wife only widened the gap between the couple and made them almost become strangers. Adding a miscarriage that happened 1.5 years ago to that, Na Hee and Gyu Jin almost never share smiles and laugh together anymore. Na Hee made up her mind. For her and also for Gyu Jin's happiness, they have to separate. Gyu Jin actually wanted to try to save his marriage but seeing the determined look in Na Hee’s eyes and realizing that they almost never shared smiles towards each other anymore, he agreed. Maybe with this divorce, they can find their own happiness again. There’s only one big problem left. How do they tell the elders about their decision?

 

And lastly the youngest is Song Da Hee. She's an intern at a travel company. Being the youngest of 4 siblings, she's kind of shy and finds it hard to say no or show her objections, which make others look down on her. She had been dating with her boyfriend for a while and they decided to get married. Her boyfriend had studied to become a civil servant and finally passed the exam. Da Hee was swamped with work even to just before the day of her wedding. On her wedding night, she found out that her husband of less than a day had been cheating on her with his colleague and that it had been happening for a while behind her back. Da Hee immediately left the hotel but not before getting hurt by her ex's comment. She went back to her parents' house and announced that her marriage is annulled. She also quit her intern job because she’s tired of being a pushover and wanted to start anew. She vowed she won’t get married anymore and will just focus on pursuing her dream. She started it with befriending her brother-in-law Yoon Jae Seok who unfortunately had witnessed her at her lowest. Funnily enough, she keeps meeting him and Jae Seok starts to get involved more and more in Da Hee’s life.

 

Reviews with spoilers:

Once Again or the literal translations of Korean title (한 번 다녀왔습니다) ‘I have been there once’ refers to someone who has gotten a divorce. You might find one or two characters who have had a divorce in a drama, but in here, you get 4 characters who have had a divorce and came from the same family, and in fact, they are siblings! You might find that it’s a weird drama because it seems all the siblings had gotten divorces and moved back to their parents’ house. It’s unusual and strange, that’s true, but I feel that is something that would be possible to happen. 

 

What are the reasons I watch the drama?

  • The drama teaser. We’re shown that the siblings are giving their divorce papers to their parents, one after another. It looks funny. And another teaser, the main couple Na Hee and Gyu Jin who are preparing themselves to break the news to their respective mothers. Both seems to hesitate because they know their mothers well, and so pretend that they are still happy as couple. I predicted a reconciliation in the future because the broken heart becomes one again at the end of the teaser.
Spoiler

 

 

 

 

 

  • The casts. The lead casts are all actors who are already well-known for their acting quality. The chemistry and the realistic acting immersed me in the drama. Together with them, I laugh, feel sad and happy as if I’m a part of the drama itself and not only as a viewer.
  • The story. The plot in the early episodes are quite fast and entertaining so that it made me forget that I’ve been watching for about 70 minutes and couldn’t wait for the next episodes. But I also admit that somewhere in the middle, I felt there are some unnecessary plots for the supporting characters, and it would be better to give the screen time for the lead characters stories. However, that is the charm of family drama that can’t be taken out, I guess. After all every characters deserve to have their time to shine and their development (100 episodes, everyone).

For those who are not familiar or never watched Korean weekend-family drama before might find it confusing and overwhelmed. It has several main characters and lots of supporting characters. We have so many problems that happen at the same time or find that a solution of that problem is unsatisfactory. But that’s all part of the charm of family dramas.

  

Things that I love from the drama:

  • The pairings/couples

Personally, I love the chemistry between the couples: Na He – Gyu Jin, Da Hee – Jae Seok, and Ok Boon – Young Dal. Both members of each couple have different personalities, different characteristics but together they balance each other. Together, they can grow to become better people.

  • The friendship/brother-ship/siblings-ship

The Song siblings might have quarreled with each other or have a siblings fight, but they are always there for their siblings. If other people point their fingers at one of them, the siblings will act fast to protect and show their unity. That includes facing their parents' wrath, which they also endure together. 
The Yoon Brothers are just one of my favorites. If they had not been doctors, I would have thought that they were comedians because of their antics. Just like the Song siblings, the Yoon brothers would constantly argue over every little thing, but in the end they are there for each other in both happy and sad days.

  • The frenemies between Ok Boon and Yoon Jeong. 

They were schoolmates in high school and would often argue with each other. They never imagined that their children would fall in love with each other and thus they would become in-laws. When they found out about Na Hee and Gyu Jin's divorce, the relationship between them became worse and even had a hair-pulling fight in the public. But despite all the fighting, they will still be there for each other when they need someone.

 

Spoiler

Ok Boon saved and protected Yoon Jeong when she unknowingly met with thugs. When Ok Boon had a big argument with Young Dal and need a place to crash, Yoon Jeong welcomed her in to her house. They started to grow apart again when they knew their youngest (Da Hee and Jae Seok) wanted to marry each other and the older siblings (Na Hee and Gyu Jin) wanted to reconcile. That would have caused them to become double in-laws! Ok Boon is against the idea because of the hurtful words that Yoon Jeong’s said about her daughters. Yoon Jeong, too, thinks that her sons could do better without Song sisters.

 

However, when Yoon Jeong is diagnosed with pseudo dementia, caused by her high alcoholic consumption, all their arguments and disagreements are forgotten. Together they cried and Ok Boon comforted Yoon Jeong when she told her about her fears. They also promised to forgive each other's, mistakes and hurtful comments. They have fewer friends in their old-age and they promised to stay healthy and grow old together. Ok Boon even gives her approval for Da Hee to live with Yoon Jeong for the first 2 years of her marriage, accompanying her while Yoon Jeong is receiving her treatment.

 

  • A great story of how or why two people fell out of love and fell in love with each other at the same time. Every episode has twists, turns and revelations.
  • Uplifting stories that are close to common people’s lives. It also has different and varying stories about many kinds of couples.
  • Family and love. It gives out diverse emotions and messages about life.

 

Things that I can learn from the drama:

  • The meaning of family and the bittersweet reality of marriage.

From the drama I learned more about the family dynamics. Generation gaps between parents and the children are always there. What the parents faced when they’re younger can not always be applied for their children because the era has changed. Both parents and children need to be more understanding and think calmly from each other points of view. Of course, parents want the best for their children but they can’t always force what they want and wish for the children. And the children too, they can’t just selfishly think about themselves and ignore their parents' feelings. Parents always want something good for their children, but sometimes the way the parents express that might not always be in the right way for us to understand. Maintaining good communication and heart-to-heart talks can be one of the ways to decrease the gap between parents and their children.

  • The up and down in marriage life.

Sometimes there are happy days, sometimes there are sad days, too. Your partner can be the source of your happiness, but also can be the one who makes you upset for many days. Good and clear communication is one of the important things that every couple needs. You can’t expect your partner to know what is in your mind or what you are feeling when you don’t express them. If you are not good with the way you talk, you can express it with your gestures. And marriage is not only between two people, but sometimes it’s also between the two families. You can’t just expect your partner to immediately match his/her way to your family tradition or habits. When there’s a rift or argument, you can act as the guide for both parties so that you can reach an understanding.

  • It’s not too late to start a new path or to fulfill the dream job that you have been dreaming of. Success doesn’t look at your age, it’s all about your effort and determination. Enjoy the process and don’t give up even you’re facing a problem. Your hard work will give you a sweet result in the end.

 

Ratings:

Plot/story: 8.5/10
Cast/Acting: 9/10
Production Value(aesthetics/OST/cinematography): 6.5/10 (a little bit low because the shoot mostly done inside a filming set. The OST is ok, one of the actors (Lee Sang Yi) took part in the OST)

Spoiler

 

 

 

 


Re-watch Value: 6/10 (I give this a low score because I know the episodes are quite long and might be too much to repeat every episodes. But, several scenes are memorable and funny and those can be re-watched several times without making you feel bored)


Recommend to Watch? 

Yes! To any of you who like the family drama genre, this is one that you have to give it a try. From family love, comedic actions, sweet couple interactions, life lessons, this drama have all of that for you to discover. :smile:

 

Quote

 

According to the old sayings that it's better not to have many kids and that a big family can never be peaceful. But after the wind blows, the flowers bloom. And when the rain clouds clear, we will meet with a bright and sunny days. So, if you live one day at a time without being in despair or full of arrogance, happiness will build its nest in front of your front yard. My children, secure that happiness. Love always shows in the form of generosity and respect. My fellow parents, live your lives. Today is the youngest you'll ever be. Only when I am happy, then the world will become a beautiful place to live in.

 

- Jang Ok Boon -

 

 

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Currently Watching List:

K-drama: Love is for Suckers, Under the Queen's umbrella, Three Bold Siblings, May it Please court, One Dollar Lawyer 

K-variety: House on wheels 4

 

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Wow, thanks so much for this review! The weekend dramas with their emphasis on families and their social commentary on the changing culture can be informative and fun, but they have so many episodes! If they can make it engaging over 50 hour long (or 100 half hour long) episodes, they can be so much fun to watch, but can make a re-watch hard. I've only picked up a couple of episodes here and there of this drama, but your review really makes me want to go back to the start and try watching it properly.

 

I do rather love Lee Min Jung's character here, and it reminds me of a previous character of hers that she did in another weekend drama "Smile, You" with Jung Kyung Ho. I loved that drama, even though that had a long episode count as well. A couple of fun facts about "Smile, You", it was the first lead role for both Lee Min Jung and Jung Kyung Ho. Also, the father for LMJ's character in this drama, Chun Ho Jin, played LMJ's father-in-law in "Smile, You".

 

Anyway, getting back to this drama, it tackles several issues, but seems to have a focus on the topic of divorces in particular.  This drama seems to be a commentary on the commonality of divorce in today's Korean society.  There is both acknowledgement at how hard marriage and relationships may be and that sometimes divorce is the only answer, but also a bit of advice in not jumping to divorce as a solution too soon, especially given the arc of the OTP.

 

It's amusing to see other previous taboos such as having a pair of siblings marry another pair of siblings only briefly address objections from the parents before it's swept away. At one point in Korean society, even a pair of cousins marrying brothers/sisters was frowned upon.

 

Anyway, the episodes I've watched were fun, so this was already on my back burner to pick up at some point, but I'm more eager now to give it a proper watch. Plus, with the ratings that it enjoys in SK, it's got to have a lot going for it. :smile:

 

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  • 1 year later...

Loved reading all your comments about this drama. One of my fav family dramas. It's not easy to sit down and rewatch it, but the first time I watched it was memorable. I enjoyed how family problems and family togetherness were portrayed. 

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