Synopsis. Bad Papa is a 16-episode (32 split episodes) 2018 kdrama about a man emotionally estranged from his wife and daughter. He reconnects with them when he restarts his boxing career. No one knows his secret – an experimental drug aide his success. Will the drug have consequences? Will he lose what he has gained when his secret is revealed?
What I liked. The writing, core characters, the message.
Writing. Writer Kim Sung Min was an unknown. Keeping the emotional connection in the plot points was a strength. In the final episode, there is a boxing match, but it was the underlying emotions (not giving up and being an example) that mattered. Writer Kim kept the options open so the turn in the final two episodes worked even when your brain said…wait a minute.
Father (aka Bad Papa) Yoo Ji Cheol (Jang Hyuk). I watched this series for Jang Hyuk. He didn’t disappoint. Jang Hyuk made a character that I wanted to throttle sometimes (e.g. lying to his family) into a man whose choices were realistic for him as he struggled to reestablish his dignity and place in his family. Isn’t Jang Hyuk maturing with an almost youthful look? I want his skin care regime!
Daughter Yoo Young Sun (Shin Eun Soo). The apple didn’t fall far from the tree with Young Sun. She was like her father in so many ways. Their relationship and emotional connection was the best part of this drama. She was an inspiration to her father and motivated him to become an example to her. I LOVED them!
Messages. This drama had several themes. Two resonated with me – family is what matters and fight to the end.
What I didn’t like. This drama had a steady state and could be characterized as low key. The emotional punch in this series didn’t come until the final episode. That made the final episode terrific (if you agreed with the writer’s choice). But the other episodes had a similar vibe.
Would I recommend Bad Papa? Yes, the father and daughter relationship was fabulous. Writer Kim’s choices succeeded when so many paths could have been taken. Finally, Jang Hyuk worked his subtle magic to make us see his character wasn’t a Bad Papa after all.