Anna: Stars Falling From the Sky is a drama with an unusual plot twist as the circumstances of the heroine change dramatically between the first and second episode. Jin Pal Kang is the worst insurance saleswoman in Korea. She’s superficial and spends most of her time shopping and spending her meager salary on items to attract the attention of her crush, an emotionless lawyer named Won Kang Ha. Pal Kang’s family life is extremely chaotic as her parents have adopted five younger siblings. Pal Kang’s life drastically changes when her parents get killed in a car accident. She manages to secure a job as a housekeeper for the handsome lawyer, but becoming the sole provider for five adopted siblings and actually maintaining her insurance job is going to be difficult! Won Kang Ha’s house is also occupied by his feckless nephew and his overly kind brother, providing a perfect set-up for a love rectangle. Stars Falling From the Sky is available on Dramafever.
I found this series immensely addicting and I watched all 20 episodes in a couple weeks. What were your reactions to the first few episodes?
Michelle: I went from almost violently hating everyone—except Pal Kang’s long-suffering best friend—in episode one to feeling pretty addicted myself by the end of episode two! The heroine turns around overnight, practically, and even the kids grow more distinct. I think I might end up actually making it to the end of this series (which would be a kdrama first for me), which I didn’t think would be possible when it took me several sittings to get through just the first episode.
Anna: The first episode was rough going, just because really the only characters that I liked were Pal Kang’s parents. That being said, I had a certain amount of sympathy for how selfishly she was behaving just based on her hectic home life. If I was a young 20something and was still living at home with a gaggle of siblings causing chaos everywhere, I might become overly fixated on snobby lawyers and shopping myself. I thought the ending of the first episode was so shocking I immediately started watching the second, and then I was hooked. One of the things I like so much about this series is the more realistic way the characters develop. Pal Kang becomes a much better person but it doesn’t happen overnight.
Michelle: I suppose I never did hate her dad, but her mother frustrated me with her refusal to do anything about the younger siblings destroying Pal Kang’s things and, in fact, blaming it on Pal Kang. But you’re right, the end of the first episode suddenly gets riveting starting with the parents going to the site of the proposed hospital. When I wrote that Pal Kang turns around overnight, I didn’t mean that she completes a transformation, but that she suddenly sees how frivolous she has been. And even when times are tough in her housekeeping situation and her first instinct is to complain about unfairness, she quickly follows it up with gratitude that they’ve all got a roof over their heads. She’s no saint, but she has matured a great deal quite abruptly.
Emily: Yeah, this is something I really enjoyed about this series – the unconventional heroine, Pal Kang. Yes, in episode 1 she starts off as very immature and flighty and irresponsible. It is almost painful to watch. But when times get rough, she makes a difficult decision and then STICKS to it. She changes herself, and then abides by her choice even when all the other characters around her try to drag her into the usual kdrama love triangle nonsense. While it does take her some time to ramp up her skills- it’s one thing to make a decision, and another to actually have the knowledge about exactly how to make things work, she keeps pushing forward and puts family first. Other characters put her into typical kdrama situations – especially the amazingly awful and delusional obligatory female rival – but Pal Kang doesn’t have time for her crap, and pretty much says so repeatedly. She has an iron resolve.
I also enjoyed the family bond between Pal Kang and the kids. They do all develop distinct personalities and each one supports the family in a unique way. And the child actors are great.
Our grumpy hero doesn’t have much to work with for a while, other than, ‘be grumpy and mean,’ but he does loosen up eventually and have more to do later. Pal Kang’s influence changes him a lot, and even he learns to respect and understand her choices.
Anna: The child actors were an aspect of the show that I wasn’t expecting to enjoy as much as I did. But they all had very distinct personalities, and I thought the oldest boy’s storyline portraying his anger at being suddenly orphaned was particularly good. Grumpy hero Won Kang Ha was grumpy, but I thought the writers at least gave him more history and motivation to explain his grumpiness, so I felt like his emotional remoteness was earned as opposed to being a bit of a stock character.
Michelle: I definitely came to like the kids more than I expected, especially since at the beginning their storylines revolve almost exclusively around having to go to the bathroom (complete with over-the-top squirming and facial expressions). Gradually, their distinct personalities do emerge and it’s fun seeing, for example, Cho-Rok and Pa-Rang have a discussion amongst themselves whilst the older kids are out of the room. I confess that clever Cho-Rok is my favorite.
Anna: The bathroom stuff was a bit excessive, but I will say as a parent to young children it is alarming how much you end up having to deal with bathroom stuff.
Nancy: I’ll touch on a few points already brought up. I hated this drama at first. Then it became engrossing, but I’m not sure it was worth all the hours in the end. I did dub this “Defecation Drama”–there should be a drinking game for every time a character has to go the bathroom, is constipated, is grabbing their ass (like that will help?!), or is grimacing while seated on the toilet. Oh, and the baby poop scene in the car… I thought they might actually slow-mo it or do a dramatic flashback because the makers of this show seem to be so enamored with poop!
Pal Kang was the high point of this drama. Her struggle to survive with her young siblings was very moving. There was enough drama without adding the scheming female relatives from the Jung family. Jae Young, the wannabe fiancée, was interesting before they made her jump off the deep end. The motivations of the Jung relatives made no sense after a while. Like in so many kdramas, the focus of the story was lost to its detriment.
I must bring up grandpa. He collapsed so many times in this drama after hearing startling news that I found it hilarious. If you watch this drama, see if you can predict each time grandpa will keel over.
Anna: It would be easy to come up with a drinking game for this drama based on bathroom issues, housekeeping problems, and grandpa’s collapses. There was something about the pacing and the cliffhangers at the end of each episode which were particularly compelling to me. I marathoned this series in a way I haven’t done with a kdrama in quite some time. Part of what interested me so much were the aspects of the series that were a bit unusual like Pal Kang’s unsympathetic character in the beginning. But I can see Nancy’s point about the standard kdrama plot points coming in and derailing the unique aspects of the show.
Emily: I could have done without most of the subplot involving grandpa’s family/corporate maneuvering and the obligatory Birth Secret, but I suppose it can’t be a kdrama without those things :) I liked watching the bond between Grumpy Hero and Sleepwalker ^^
Michelle: I reacted much the same to the cliffhangers, Anna. There was just something so compelling about them that made me forget all about bathroom ridiculousness. And I have actually not yet gotten to the bond between the Grumpy Hero and the Sleepwalker. Do you mean Pa-Rang? I anticipate some adorableness.
Nancy: Grumpy Hero and Sleepwalker were sweet. :3
Anna: So Stars Falling From the Sky features a heroine who is maddening at the start of the show but who redeems herself by the end, an over reliance on bathroom issues as a plot point, a grumpy lawyer lead guy, cute kids, a fainting grandpa, and some adorable sleepwalking. If you are going to embark on this show, I recommend watching at least the first two episodes before making a decision to continue or not, because it really does change drastically from the first to the second episode.
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