The Man Living In Our House Review
WHERE TO WATCH: VIKI
WHERE TO GET RECAPS: Dramabeans
My Rating: 4 out of 5
The Man Living In Our House, even with its unusual storyline, is a pretty typical rom-com adventure. But there’s something about this show that clicked with me. I really think it hinged on the fact that it had several tropes that I dearly love to squee over, which is why I fell so in love.
So this is going to be a hodgepodge review; a medley of feels and emotions that I’ve strung together on why I love this K-drama. And of course, I’ll acknowledge its flaws, which it had plenty of.
Summary: Hong Na-Ri returns home after her mother’s recent death to find a young man living in her house, claiming that he’s her stepfather. Na-Ri now obsesses over finding out if this stranger is a con-man trying to take her mother’s land or legitimately her mother’s husband.
First off, yes, the plot is unusual. He’s her step-father? I found the idea both amusing and obviously worrisome. There was definitely plot fodder for humor but was this going to get weird? Thankfully, there was actually nothing icksome in the story! Phew! In fact, the whole step-father plot brought a lot of fun and funny moments between our characters.
I loved the heroine, Hong Na-Ri! Compassionate, intelligent, and balanced, she often said what she felt and didn’t apologize for her honesty. She struggled in her life, particularly over her mother’s recent death. Na-Ri was relatable, fun, and classy, with funny side to her. I love how she aimed to be herself, often dressing in comfy sweats.
OMG I’ve in love with Go Nan-Gil! I’m a big sucker for the protective hero (yes, cliché but I can’t help it, lol!). But combine that with a guy who’s incredibly compassionate and gentle… and I’m TOAST! Not to mention… he cooks. And he has a bad boy past where he was forced into a gangster life when he was just a kid, but never lost his kind heart despite all the terrible things he’d been through. I mean, what’s not to love???
Nan-Gil and Na-Ri’s first meeting was so funny and cute! Nan-Gil finds her Na-Ri at her mom’s burial site (near a tree in the forest) where he overhears Na-Ri telling off her cheating ex over the phone. Haha, then he tries to sneak away unnoticed but she sees him. Little does she know that he’s her step-dad.
The second first meeting with drunk Na-Ri was hilarious. And then the scene when she wakes up in the morning with temporary blindness and he rushes her to the hospital – while carrying her the whole way. Yes, I was swooning.
Then their constant bickering over the “step-father” and daughter relationship, oh my word! I loved it, especially as I began to realize that Nan-Gil seemed to enjoy incessantly teasing Na-Ri like this. Basically he was a boy pulling a girl’s hair to get attention (i.e. Gilbert and Anne, hehe). It was hilarious how he insisted on speaking informally to her (like he’s her father and not a stranger) while she kept speaking formally to him, lol.
I loved Na-Ri constantly trying to figure out the mystery of whether or not Nan-Gil was s a con artist! So many funny moments. Especially the scene when Na-Ri tells Nan-Gil that if he’s really her “father” he should punch her fiancé for cheating on her, lol! Nan-Gil adorably tries to but nope, he ends up patting Na-Ri’s ex on the shoulder instead and nicely asks him to leave haha. Nan-Gil’s just too much of a softie.
OMG, the confession and first kiss! Seriously I replayed it so many times!
I also enjoyed their disagreements centering around Nan-Gil constantly taking responsibility for all the bad stuff going on (her uncle’s debt, protecting her mother’s land, etc). Eventually we learn that this is Nan-Gil’s way of loving Na-Ri and her mom, who unbeknownst to Na-Ri was like a mom to him. As an orphan, he didn’t have much love in his life. And he knew he could never be with Na-Ri, the older girl he had a crush on as a schoolkid; the girl who never remembered him.
And then on top of that, all of Nan-Gil’s puppy dog looks of love for Na-Ri. Gahhh I can’t!
Now for the cons…
I disliked almost all of the side characters, lol. Do Yeo-Joo, Na-Ri’s co-worker, who cheated with Na-Ri’s boyfriend, took the prize for most annoying. I never liked her character and felt like the writers didn’t know what to do with her. Kwon Duk-Shim, the high schooler with a crush on Nan-Gil, was annoying, especially when she screamed. Which she did too often. Oh my word. Lee Yong-Kyoo, Nan-Gil’s co-worker, was super annoying to me too. I felt like he was trying to act cute, but he wasn’t coming anywhere near it. Kwon Duk-Bong, the second lead love interest, was the best of the secondary characters but I felt like he was still poorly done as a character. Really a waste of Lee Soo-Hyuk’s talent.
Sadly, after halfway through the show, the plot seams started ripping apart, revealing the lack of plot the show had. Which meant the writers had to rehash problems and drag out things that could’ve been solved episodes ago. This isn’t uncommon in K-drama land and I’ve finished far worse train-wreck endings for dramas. The ending itself was happy and full of closure, just short on, well, big stakes or emotion. But it carried the sweet, gentle love story between Na-Ri and Nan-Gil to a happy ending, which I had no complaints about.
I will carry fond memories of this show that surprised me with a way-too-adorable romance that melted my heart. I loved the lead actors and felt that they shined in their respective character roles. And Go Nan-Gil basically won my heart.