Dear My Friends: Full Season 1 (Also Known As: My Dear Friend, Dieo Mai Peurenjeu)
July 13, 2020 6:43 PM - Season 1 (Full Season) - Subscribe

Life is ever-delightful — and ever-challenging — for a group of friends in their twilight years as they rediscover themselves through love and family. (Netflix, tvN Korea)

Dramabeans Episode 1 recap: "Esteemed screenwriter Noh Hee-kyung is back with a slice-of-life drama which sets out to prove that even though one may be old, one is forever young at heart. Dear My Friends was specifically chosen to celebrate tvN’s 10th anniversary, and while a story predominately about people in their 60’s-80’s may seem like a surprising choice for a channel known for trendy dramas, the combination of an excellent script touching on universal truths (and hilarious moments), plus a veteran cast who seem to have leapt at the opportunity to play more than just the stock roles available to people of their age, gives us a drama that promises to make the mundane magical."

MyDramaList page: Park Wan is a translator who is constantly pulled by her mother, Jang Nan Hee, to hang out with her elder friend, Jo Hee Ja, Moon Jung Ah, Oh Choong Nam, and Lee Yeong Won. The plot revolves around the friends' twilight years as they rediscovering themselves through relationships and family, the struggles they face due to their old age, and their life journey that they share with Park Wan in the hope she would write a novel about them.

KDramaLove Review: "In Dear My Friends the issues addressed were many that the aging populations around the world privately face every day, with seldom any attention or fanfare brought to their concerns and conditions: worries about retirement finances, concerns with adult children who are experiencing various stresses, health concerns and worries, but perhaps most of all the fears aging people feel about possibly losing loved ones, losing a child or a spouse, or even their self-respect and dignity as their bodies start to break down and they need more assistance with every day needs. Thankfully, in this drama, the middle aged children and acquaintances of these seniors, were mostly understanding and sacrificial. Some had had complicated relationships with their parents in their youth but sought to rectify old bitter feelings. All this made for very poignant scenes. As much as I cried, however, I laughed even more. The script was a perfect combination of funny and bittersweet, a totally heartwarming journey. I loved every minute of this drama and I think you would too. It's a Must See K-drama for K-drama fans everywhere. Plus, it was also a delight to enjoy this fantastic ensemble of older Korean actors and actresses, most of whom I had seen in other dramas and films over the past few years."
posted by oh yeah! (5 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
(The KDramaLove review details a bunch of the show's plot reveals, so, if you've clicked into this thread to see if "Dear My Friends" might be of interest to you, don't read it too closely if you don't want to be spoiled.)

This was a heartbreaker of a show. It does have a lot of humor, and an ultimately positive finale, but, the dementia storyline was gut-wrenching. I mean, there were other heavy subjects such as miscarriage, domestic abuse, and child-death, but, Hye-ja Kim's acting as Hee-ja just pulverized me most. I agree with the reviewers that this was something special. (But I think I need my next kdrama to be a nice fluffy romance, oof.)
posted by oh yeah! at 7:14 PM on July 13, 2020

Noh Hee-kyung (the screenwriter) is one of my favorite drama writers. She has this beautiful knack of making mundane moments so painfully relatable (as well as not-so-mundane moments, like in Padam, Padam or It's Okay, That's Love, for reasons which I won't explain due to spoilers). I love that she's not afraid to have characters who are not perfect -- they're broken, and sometimes not right, but they're also in ways not wrong, either. They're just... human.

Anyway, I adore this drama and it's probably my favorite one I ever recapped (with Misaeng a close second, for similar reasons). It's such a painful drama at times, but it's one that has stuck with me long after, even though I don't know if I can ever rewatch it because of how heavy the subject matter is.

But I definitely recommend it! I'm not sure it's a binge-worthy drama, because it's such a contemplative drama, but it's so well done with an amazing array of older women actresses who prove they are more than just a mother or wife.
posted by paisley sheep at 10:57 PM on July 14, 2020

The moment that I knew I was going to be in trouble was when Min-ho takes his mom to the movies, and has that flashback of her buying him cotton candy when he was little, and the narration has him realizing that one day his mom is going to disappear just like cotton candy does. A haunting metaphor that hit too close to home, as a 40-something with elderly parents.

(Looks like neither 'Padam, Padam' or 'It's Okay, That's Love' are available for streaming on Netflix US currently - Misaeng is, and is on my list to get to eventually. Haven't settled on my next kdrama to binge yet though.)
posted by oh yeah! at 4:01 AM on July 15, 2020

It's a bummer that Padam or It's Okay isn't available, though! Tbh I forget what's where since dramas are no longer in one easy-to-access place for most people and there are licensing wars going on all the time.

But I just remembered that Noh Hee-kyung also wrote Live, which is on Netflix! I never got around to finishing it for life reasons (heh), but I liked what I saw in the beginning at least.

Live also stars Lee Kwang-soo (aka Min-ho from DMF, who yes, was marvelous in that scene in the cinema and has stayed with me years later). I always really knew as a comic actor who mostly did supporting roles (or variety shows like Running Man) so his portrayal as Min-ho really stuck with me, and I was glad to see him get a leading role. Maybe one day I'll eventually get back to Live and finish it -- it might be even more interesting now due to all the discourse about police (although Korean police are very different from American police).

Oh, now I just took a moment to have a look at what dramas Netflix offers (and was surprised that they have some older ones and not just more recent ones!), and I saw That Winter, The Wind Blows is on there, which Noh Hee-kyung also wrote. It's not one of my favorites of hers for various reasons (much more melodramatic than slice-of-life), but the cinematography is stunning. It's one of the most literally beautiful dramas I've seen.

And yeah, Misaeng/Incomplete Life is definitely worth it, but also difficult to watch for anyone who's worked in an office before because it's too painfully relatable at times, so I can see wanting to take a break from a heavier drama. I haven't watched a lot of the newer stuff in the past year or two, but if you want any suggestions, let me know! I'd recommend the Let's Eat series as a fun break between more serious stuff, if you haven't already watched them.

(Is there a Mefi kdrama club? Because I really think there should be -- there must be more than just the two of us who enjoy dramas!)
posted by paisley sheep at 8:08 PM on July 15, 2020 [1 favorite]

(Is there a Mefi kdrama club? Because I really think there should be -- there must be more than just the two of us who enjoy dramas!)

I should probably start a FanfareTalk thread; I know it's not just you and me, but judging by the number of comments in the kdrama-tagged posts, it's not many more.

Oh, now I just took a moment to have a look at what dramas Netflix offers (and was surprised that they have some older ones and not just more recent ones!),

They have so many kdramas now -- it's disappointing when I search for a specific one and don't find it, but, I figure it's going to take a while before I burn through all the kdramas on Netflix that have Dramabeans recaps. At that point I guess I'll check out Viki, I've heard they have the most.
posted by oh yeah! at 4:48 AM on July 16, 2020

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