K-Drama Review: ‘Oh My Baby’ A Bitter Reality Inside the Sweet Romance

Edited by Seo Hae Lan
Translated by Kim Hoyeun

The ovarian age is 39. Endometriosis. Chances of getting pregnant naturally is 7 percent. It is impossible to give birth unless she is pregnant within half a year. These are the results that Jang Ha Ri (Jang Na Ra), a 39-year-old career woman, received (She said that it felt like she was put in a death bed). But, she is not married, and is willing to get married, but has no partner. In all, she has no way of getting pregnant. Eventually, she decides to receive the sperms of one of the three “trustworthy” men around her.

Oh My Baby is a romantic comedy drama that revolves around the romance among a single woman who wants a baby, her old friend, a younger man with both healthy mind and body, and a man with a free but wounded soul. Jang Na Ra, who worked on serious works such as The Last Empress and VIP over the past few years, has returned to the romantic comedy genre after a long time. Go Joon, Park Byung Eun, and Jung Gun Joo play the three men Jang Ha Ri considers as a father for her baby.

Credit: tvN

Just like all other romantic comedy works, the drama presents both funny and heart-fluttering scenes. Jang Na Ra shows perfect chemistry with all three male actors in both comic and romantic scenes. Especially, the romance among fully grown adults is as exciting as the romance among young people. Whenever the three people, Jang Ha Ri, Han Yi Sang (Go Joon), and Yoon Jae Young (Parl Byung Eun), who are about to hit their 40s, experience the moment where their heart flutter, I also feel excited. The romance among those who have already experienced the pain of love is extremely cautious, but it becomes bold when the time comes. Maybe that’s why. Choi Kang Eu Tteum (Jung Gun Joo), who is full of willpower but is tactless, doesn’t look as cute as he intended when he mistakes or misunderstands Ha Ri’s mind.

Oh My Baby deals with Jang Ha Ri’s work and life as much as romance. Ha Ri has been at work for 15 years and is number two in the child care magazine’s editorial department, The Baby. She has experienced literally everything that happens in the social life and in the organization. She gets along with everyone easily and has a good sense of humor. She excels at work, but yet, when it comes to romance, she is clumsy. Even to this age, she goes blank when dating someone. She needs to be a mother before it’s too late, but it’s impossible for a single woman to legally receive sperm donations through an institute. So she does everything she can in her power, but there lies a problem.

What will happen to Ha Ri’s life after giving birth to a baby? Ha Ri’s past and future choices and the results can be seen in the lives of women around Ha Ri. Her friend Eun Young, who never wished to get married and dreamed of running her own business, is now a mother of two and jobless. Her boss Jung Hwa chose to leave the company to take care of her two kids (Ironically, the company that prefers married woman to be the editor makes her quit her job because she has kids). On the other hand, her junior Hyo Joo chose to be “DINK” thinking that having kids would not allow her to enjoy her free time, and Jae Young’s ex-wife chose career and success, leaving behind the baby and husband.

Credit: tvN

There is a saying that it takes a village to raise a kid. Even if childbirth is up to women, raising kids is difficult even with the entire community. Even in the drama, we can see a few cases where the fosterers, who have to raise their children with their own capabilities and without proper supports, eventually being forced to make a decision. Even when Oh My Baby focuses on the romance between Ha Ri and the three men, the moment exhausted people trying to balance work, love, and family show up, we get a cold water thrown in our faces.

The affectionate eyes, warm gestures, thrilling, and heart-fluttering romance all add to the pleasure of the drama. But the moment when situations and emotions of the character match with mine, and their stories are found in our own stories, the story becomes our own true stories. I cannot see Oh My Baby as just a light romantic comedy drama because even when it sticks to the nature of the genre, the emotional impact I get is an unexpected surprise.

Verdict: Even after being wrapped in romance, childbirth, parenting, and women’s social lives are still in the same place (5/10)

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