*Caffeinated reviews are short, drive-by reviews, mostly of older dramas or bad dramas for which I don’t have time to write a full long review.
Dr. Min (Jang Hyuk), a brilliant, successful surgeon, is devastated when his long-term girlfriend unexpectedly develops pancreatic cancer and passes away. Taking a token job on a small island to hide in his grief, he rents a room from single mother Lee Young-Shin (Gong Hyo Jin). Lee Young-Shin is a stubborn, brave woman working as hard as possible to care for her incorrigible daughter and her needy father. The curt Dr. Min is slowly drawn into their lives, discovering that Young-Shin is hiding the fact that her daughter has AIDs…
DISCLAIMER: It is not nearly as angsty as it sounds. The kid does not get sick, and only affects the other characters insofar as Lee Young-Shin struggles to keep it a secret from the village people to it.
Thank You is a relatively slow-paced drama, and does get overly angsty and melancholy in its second half – yet even those moments are shot through with surprising scenes of sweetnesss and human joy and warmth that light up this drama. Thank You is a compelling, strongly-written, addicting drama with an exquisite balance of the funny, the heartbreaking, and the romantic, with amazing performances from Jang Hyuk (my profile) and Gong Hyo Jin early in their careers when they weren’t quite the heavyweight drama staples they are today (today, a casting of Jang Hyuk with Gong Hyo Jin would be HUGE news – back then it was ordinary). Romances involving a single mom are among my favorite – I love the scenario of a slightly older, strong woman who’s been beaten around by life and is still standing, looking after her daughter, and then along comes a lonely man who’s somehow a perfect fit for their world and their needs, and works his way into their lives and becomes their champion when necessary, while respecting the fact that they can survive without him. The drama was filmed on Pureon-do Island, so while the color palette is relatively muted since this was an older drama, there are still many beautiful scenes.
This one’s only available on DramaFever (side note: I wrote the synopsis of the drama on that page, from way back in the day when I wrote for Dramafever in college).