Heard It Through the Grapevine / Heard It As A Rumor

I Heard It Through the Grapevine

Not my usual drama fare, I must say. Listed as a black-comedy, I am not quite sure what to expect…maybe perhaps something along the lines of New Tales of Gisaeng? The drama focuses on four main characters, Han Jeong Ho and Choi Yeon Hee, who are the husband and wife of a extremely prestigious family whose life is turned upside down because their son, In Sang, in a night of passion, makes a baby with his girlfriend, Seo Bom, who is from an ordinary family. The first episode gives us a look at In Sang and Seo Bom’s young adult love made possible at a study camp. Their young love is very endearing to watching and really reflects the passion, yet still awkwardness of individuals at that age. From that one night, Seo Bom’s life is changed forever as she dropped out of high school to keep the baby even though she was going to stop seeing him only to just study for college entrance exams. Meanwhile, In Sang, is constantly pressured by his family expectations to do well in studies and take the civil service exam. In Sang, without knowing she was pregnant, did not have contact with her until one fateful day where he finally found her location. After a moment of cowardliness at the Han River where both played a moment of drama by wading into the lake, it was time for D-Day at In Sang’s house. The two nervously and abashedly tell their story to the parents who are furious. The father is especially angry and the mother is emotionally distraught. In Sang and Seo Bom end up birthing the baby at his home! I give so much props to In Sang for staying with Seo Bom during the birth. Not a lot of fathers can endure watching this process, and just this shows the hidden steel in him, even though he is blubbering fool with a weak spine right now in front of his parents. His parents coldly decide to break this new family apart by separating them. The baby with a professional nanny, Seo Bom locked in the guest bedroom, and In Sang locked in a study room away from the house. As father said, “divide and conquer.”

This drama definitely makes a lot of social commentary on the class divides. For In Sang’s family, it is all about image, power, and money. Like your typical drama chaebol family, In Sang is pushed to achieve familial expectations, be a puppet for the family, marry a wealthy and connected girl, and be a carbon copy of his parents who lived the same way. The pressure must be immense for In Sang, and to be honest, I don’t blame him for his current weak spine as he had never had to endure any hardships when his parents paved the rode for him. This surprise birth is the first time something is out of his parent’s control and I hope to see him grow from this experience. As for Seo Bom, we can see she lives with her mother during the pregnancy as her father thinks having a child out of wedlock is very shameful. Without being married, this single-mother issue is very controversial and people look down upon women like Seo Bom. However, overall when the family is reunited, we can see the warmth of a such family unlike the coldness of In Sang’s. For Seo Bom, she is willing to endure the hostility and shaming of In Sang’s family if only to give her new child a better future in a rich household. While that is admirable on her front as a mother, I really will find it painful to watch her endure such torment. I hope that she will be able to touch that family’s hearts or at least rise above him with or without In Sang’s help.

I also find Go Ah Sung and Lee Joon’s acting to be very refreshing. This is the first drama I have seen of Lee Joon’s, and I am super please that he lived up to my expectations and good things that I have heard about his acting. Having watched Go Ah Sung in Snowpiercer, I find her very endearing and her acting very natural. Her birthing scene was very well done, something that is often hard to portray realistically in and accurately, coming a nursing perspective, I have seen how these births really go!

I found the way this drama was filmed was very interesting. As a black-comedy, I can see how this drama makes humor out of subjects considered taboo. I found that the drama definitely makes fun of the attitudes of such prestigious families who care so much about image and are so histrionic in their home. For example, playing music so loud in the house and closing off all communication because a secret is being “born” in the house. The horrible separation of family and how the upper class treats the lower classes. The way that In Sang must study, isolated, staring and a black dot and cramming his life away. The extreme emphasis that S. Korea puts on academics and power connections. The belief of the upper class that specs or skills don’t matter anymore as long as you have the connections to pull the strings you want. While none of these scenes are laugh-inducing, it gives us a sardonic view of what life is possible like for these upper class people. This drama also touches upon the topic of sex education, a topic that all youngsters as well as adults should be well acquainted with and educated about. This prevents mistakes from happening, especially preventing the hardships of single mothers and teenage pregnancy. This puts so much stress and financial suffering of the parent who must raise the child either alone or if they are lucky, with their young spouse. Having a child is big a deal and I feel like it is important to have one when you can emotionally, physically, and financially support one, not when you can’t sexually control yourself or don’t have the mind to use protection. I like how this drama emphasizes that they did use protection, but unfortunately it was defective. While we usually see dramas that have chaebol romances with Candy girls, this drama takes new perspective with a young non-jaded man who is still stuck in his familial bubble put now needs to pop it and grow up for his young family.

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17 thoughts on “Heard It Through the Grapevine / Heard It As A Rumor

  1. Having watched previous works of the team behind this project (Secret Love Affair and Qualifications of the Housewife), I was prepared for something unconventional. I was anticipating this drama for its young actors and their story. And I got hooked on the retro song in the trailer. So, as premiere date approached, I started to lower my expectations. Honestly, that was unnecessary because this drama delivers big time. After 2 episodes, especially during the 2nd one, I felt like I’ve been on an emotional roller coaster. I’m myself very emotional, but birth scenes followed by realisation of granddad’s “divide and conquer” plan just killed me.

    I don’t know how I will live through this drama. Still, can’t wait for next episode =)

    • After watching half of Secret Love Affair, I can see how this project is from the same team! It has a similar feel to, but with a new perspective. I had high hopes for this drama especially with the leading young actors. I haven’t watched them in a drama, with my only knowledge of them from Snowpiercer and Rough Play. Lee Joon is turning out to be such a promising idol-actor- really transitioning well and having a couple good dramas under his belt.

      I enjoy the black humor this drama has about society. And I really got shivers during the intimacy of the birth scenes. The grandad seems like a tough nut to crack and I’m nervous as to what means to an end he will use to protect the family image.

      Keep me updated on your further thoughts!

  2. So far, controlling Granddad has NOT controlled half of what he thinks he has in terms of this couple – nor have I seen the young mother being really meek, enduring or mild since she’s not faced anything harsh from the scheming inlaws to be until the final scene. As for Lee Joon – FANTASTIC job so far – yep his character SEEMS spineless but kind of like an opossum he manages to stand up (or cringe) to his father in a very crushed sort of way. AND I managed to laugh several times (I do have a rather dark, sick sense of humor sometimes which really has not been brought out in too many KDramas). I have high hopes for this show 😀

    • Haha the granddad likes to think he had the power…the scenes with that weapon. Bom’s last words of “I’ll get over the shame” shows a backbone and I hope she won’t get tread on too much later. I can’t wait for Joon to mature..it’ll be a sight to watch. Same I chuckled a couple of times…too

  3. Pingback: HEARD IT THROUGH THE GRAPEVINE. SBS | IKurate

  4. You are really one of the few who gets what this drama is about. Not many people get it or understand it. I’m tired of reading very ignorant comments about this drama on other pages. From the looks of the lead actress to the whole theme of the drama.
    Still watching this and I like character development.

    • Ah thank you for your thoughts! I really enjoy how Bom is developing! She is maturing and catching onto how everything functions in the upper class. Thr recent episode really shifts the power in thr house to her

      • Yeah, they all acknowledge she is smart. Even Mr. Han. I don’t like the way min joo young is trying to get close to her through her uncle though. I think she handled her sisters situation perfectly but I was so mad at her sister.
        in sang is also maturing a lot. He is gradually leaving his bubble and exploring more.
        Mr. And Mrs Han are hilarious when it comes to the baby. I like how this is going.

      • Exactly, she is gaining their trust and establishing her own place in their household. I really enjoyed the dressing down she gave the secretary and her subtle threats to put her in place. She was like, my mother-in-law may depend on you for life, but I don’t need you at all so make yourself useful to me.
        I like how In Sang stands up to his parents more these days, really voicing his true thoughts instead of like “yes, dad, no dad”. He is learning how to truly enjoy life from Bom’s family.
        Little Jin Young has got Mr. and Mrs. Han wrapped around his tiny little finger. I wonder if the babe gets any sleep with the grandparents always spoiling him. haha!

      • I think little Jin young would be spoiled so much by the grandparents. But honestly the baby is adorable. I wonder whose baby he is. All those who were busy criticizing in sang for being spineless should come see him now.
        the secretary props in to the tutor was hilarious. I’m glad this doesn’t have the usual love triangles and evil mom.
        can’t wait to see the next episodes. I really want her to pass her high school exams.

      • The baby is quite adorable! Do you think they use several babies to film the show, or just one baby throughout?

        IKR? In Sang isn’t spineless, but just naive. The important thing is he is willing to learn and accept new ideas.

        Hahaha, yeah I’m glad it doesn’t have love triangles either…do you think that will develop in the future? With Bom being so accomplished, I’m sure she will attract the eye of others too.

        The mother-in-law isn’t evil for sure, she is also naive, almost more than her son. Tbh, it feels like she hasn’t grown up or has been in her upper class bubble too much. Remember how childish her friends and her were together about petty issues?

        I can’t wait to see her pass high school exams as well! I want her to be the youngest in passing that civil servant/law? exam as well!

  5. I’ve caught up late and just marathoned all 14 episodes in the past few days and now I’m kinda regretting since I have to wait for another 9 weeks for the rest of the episodes. This is my favorite show this year so far. Not that I didn’t enjoy shows like KMHM or Hogu’s Love, but since episode 1 this show made me go ‘wow, daebak’ after every episode.

    It’s definitely well-written like Misaeng but with more humor. I don’t have the same problems with the PD because I like the aesthetics of the scenes. A little artistic but not overtly or pretentiously. The BGM is so good and is sort of another major character of the show. And the actors are really, really great. The characters all so refreshing and different and untypical. I’m in love with Lawyer Han because even though he can be manipulative and hateful, he’s such a softy with his grandson and he’s such a heodang with his petty gripes and viewpoint. Now I want to watch Yoo Joon Sang’s past dramas because he’s so good. He reminds me of Uhm Ki Joon when he’s being serious, and Tablo when he’s being a heodang.

    • This is show is really different from our usual drama fare like KMHM or Hogu’s Love, for sure. The script is definitely a great asset to the drama as well as the talented actors. I agree with you where the characters are very fleshed out and have multiple dimensions, and not at all stereotypical (well, if only just to make a satire of the situation). While we are rooting for Seo Bom and In Sang, the in laws really aren’t making me hate them. They are quirky and naive in their own upper crust bubble way, and it’s more interesting watching them grow and be more open, espicially with little Jin Young. They are such softies for the baby! I find it so funny when Lawyer Han constantly taps his head to make his hair grow! Haha! Nothing like premature balding against the politics of the world!

      • I don’t consider KMHM or Hogu’s Love usual kdramas in that the topics they tackled like DID or single parenthood/sexuality were done really well. The script and acting were great too. It’s just that some of the (secondary) characters (esp. in KMHM) were the ones we usually see and were not developed like in Misaeng and now in HITTG.

        I’ve been enjoying a few shows like Superdaddy Yeol, Girl Who Sees Smells, and Angry Mom (not typical kdramas either) before I decided to check this one out, but after just ep.1 I’ve been blown away for some reason (the IT factor?) and the show kept getting better. Hope it continues to the end and hope more people to watch & appreciate it too. Misaeng was the last one I’ve recommended like crazy on SMS & friends, Heard It Through The Grapevine is another one worth sharing.

        Thanks for your post. Hope you’ll do a series review after it ends and I’m hoping they’d do it at dramabeans too since it’s bad/sad the recaps stopped at 2 episodes only.

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