Usually, you see the multiple storyline-type plots in the weekend or daily dramas, where they’ve got 50 to 120 hours to round out the characters and stretch things out. But I’m noticing a trend toward ensemble short-form dramas, and Your House Helper is one of several I’ve seen this year, like the sequel to Hello My Twenties and Go Go Waikiki. When it’s done well, it’s not a bad thing at all; the tone is lighter, the villains are less villainous, and it’s generally a pleasant diversion. I think these three all can be assessed similarly.
I think Ha Suk-jin is a little on the bland side (for my taste) as an actor and in his role as the guy who turns from banking to becoming an organizational and cleaning specialist when his life goes out of control. (Bringing order to other peoples’ lives instead of his own, get it?) I think I’d like to see him in a role where he gets to play someone a little wilder, or intense, or cynical – something besides controlled and bossy. He’s done that a little too much lately, IMO. He also gets a leading lady who’s a little too young for him (he’s 36 playing 36, she’s 23 trying for 28ish) and for her role. For someone who’s supposed to be in her late 20s, she comes across a little too wet behind the years, like a little kid just out of high school. I don’t actively dislike their pairing, nor the plotting of their relationship, but when I contrast it to a similar age gap relationship in Radiant Office with Go Ah-sung, it feels like it needs a sprinkling of salt.
The strength of this pretty low-key drama lies in its ensemble stories and the sometimes too brief side trips into the lives of her friends and colleagues. Go Won-hee (who was so cute in Go Go Waikiki and Strongest Deliveryman) comes off the best as the ambitious and hardworking jewelry designer pal who is pursued by a likable lawyer (with horrible dating skills). The other stories involve a pal who is afraid of men and how she resolves that issue, another who has a thing for her best male friend (a love that cannot be), and workplace tales of sexual harassment and hard work.
This is not a drama that is going to inspire strong emotions, for the most part, but it was sufficiently entertaining to not regret the time spent watching it. And hey, I did pick up a tip for cleaning the vent screens on my cooktop fan, courtesy of the House Helper tips that end too few of the episodes! That “tips” the show into the Win column!