‘The Atypical Family’ Review: Ordinary Comfort from Extraordinary Individuals

the atypical family review

Edited by Young Jun Yang
Translated by Kim Hoyeun

the atypical family review
Credit: JTBC

What happens when superheroes lose their powers? Considering that their powers not only significantly impact their lives but also define who they are, the loss and discomfort must be immense. JTBC’s The Atypical Family follows a family of superheroes as they rediscover their “superpowers” and “true family,” growing together in the process.

The Bok family “was” a household of superheroes. Bok Man Heum (Go Doo Shim) had prophetic dreams, Bok Dong Hee (Claudia Kim) could fly, and Bok Gyu Joo (Jang Ki Yong) could time-travel to the past. However, they lost their powers due to “modern diseases” such as insomnia, obesity, and depression. But everything starts to change when Do Da Hae (Chun Woo Hee) appears, sparking the return of their lost abilities and the rekindling of laughter and conversation within the family that had been absent for a while. Is Da Hae truly a fated savior for them, or does she have other motives?

The Atypical Family may tell the story of people with superpowers, but it doesn’t focus on the powers themselves. Instead, it’s intriguing how it delves into the limitations of these abilities and the helplessness and loss felt by those who have lost them. For instance, Gyu Joo can only return to “happy pasts,” and even then, he cannot alter anything. After losing his colleague and his wife due to this restriction, he falls into severe depression and alcoholism, ultimately losing his abilities.

Perhaps it’s the deviation from typical superhero genre tropes that makes it more relatable—the characters lose their powers due to very realistic, contemporary issues. The depiction of these individuals overcoming despair and regaining their strength resonates with viewers, providing a compelling and hopeful narrative.

the atypical family review
Credit: JTBC

Da Hae’s story follows a similar pattern. Initially portrayed as a con artist targeting the Bok family’s fortune, her complex circumstances unravel as the story progresses. We could already guess that Da Hae, who initially saw Gyu Joo (and his family) merely as a financial resource, will start to feel the warmth of a family through them, which gradually helps her overcome her traumas and break away from her “fake family.” Conversely, Gyu Joo will also regain his power and the emotion of happiness, thanks to Da Hae. The narrative of mutual salvation and character development is indeed flavorful.

Alongside the captivating storyline, the performances of the actors, especially the two leads, stand out. Cheon Woo Hee seamlessly switches between comedy and romance tones, portraying Da Hae as a skillful con artist with a dark past hidden beneath her facade. Jang Ki Yong brings depth to the character of Gyu Joo, capturing both his happier past and his present engulfed in gloom, drawing empathy from the audience. His bashful charm when interacting with Da Hae occasionally sparks laughter. As the interactions between Da Hae and Gyu Joo develop, the sweet chemistry between the actors also begins to shine.

The ending of episode 4 hints at a significant change in the relationship between Da Hae and Gyu Joo with a kiss scene, suggesting the beginning of a precarious romance that teeters between suspicion and excitement. This alone makes The Atypical Family worth watching. However, how the series will resolve the various hints and plot threads it has laid out remains a key point of interest. We can look forward to seeing how the show will unravel the intriguing elements it has introduced.

>> Jang Ki Yong on Why He Chose to Be a Father in ‘The Atypical Family’ For His Comeback


Editor Yang Young Jun: There is at least one good part in every movie or TV series. A media geek who isn’t picky with genres.

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