I generally avoid weepies in kdramas, especially those that have to do with Acts of Noble Idiocy or Deaths by Leukemia/ Cancer/ Truck(s) of Doom. Super has both of these elements, and weirdly, I actually suffered through the series…ok, maybe the trip is not an entire pain to watch, but I do think some pain factors are unneccesary.
1. Bad (and needless) angst
Definitely when Mi-rae thinks she is making the best choice for everyone by suddenly going into hermit mode. And dragging her daughter along with her. Once she grasps that her end is really, really near, she decides that it’s time not to “torture” Yul anymore and she should leave him. I’ve pointed out her choice is very ironic, considering that her decision to make Yul a father to Sa-rang, whether he likes it or not, also stems from the same bloody reason.
While the first part of her decision by barging into Yul’s life (and molding him into the Responsible Father she wants) is confusing to everyone (and alarming to Yul), we see that ultimately, Yul doesn’t really seem to mind. In fact, he seems to be waiting for Mi-rae to get back into his life to re-boot him into action. Those qualities which she has seen in him previously, such as a deep sense of responsibility, compassion and insight, have been laid dormant in her absence. With her return, Mi-rae manages to “revive” them.
That’s why I was kinda pissed with her when Mi-rae single mindedly decides that it’s time to pull the plug on her Super Daddy project, when the results are way beyond what she has expected. Or maybe that IS the reason why she withdrew. She didn’t expect that Sa-rang and Yul will bond that well and that fast…and more importantly, herself falling in love with Yul all over again.
And instead of owning up and apologising for why she has re-entered Yul’s life in the first place, she continues to hide her illness and juz kicks him out without explanations. And all this while, Sa-rang knows. Which is like…argh…it’s so pointless. Here Mi-rae is, trying to protect her daughter from letting her know that she is sick…and all the while, Sa-rang knows the background for her mum’s sudden irrational behaviour.
Thanks to all these futile dancing around the elephant in the living room, we spend about 2-3 eps where nearly all the characters are in pain — both physical, and emotional.
2. The good or necessary pain is pain, shared.
Once the stupid cat is out of the bag, it’s not totally rainbows and unicorns for our characters. Afterall, there’s a high chance Mi-rae will die from her cancer. Though there are still periods of fear and pain — when Mi-rae collapses, when she loses her hair due to the radiotherapy and chemotherapy, when her op to remove the tumour doesn’t go as planned — the difference is there are friends and family rallying around her now.
When Mi-rae distributes her pain — she is actually more cheerful and positive, and the storyline doesn’t get bogged down with scenes of Mi-rae, and other characters moping alone. (which is really painful for us to watch) Life generally still goes on, the baseball team still squabble and play fight with one another, Mi-rae and the baseball wives also preen and get into mock bitch fights with each other. As for Yul and Sa-rang, they bond even closer as Mi-rae’s 24/7 cheerleading team and eagled-eye nurse combined.
Yul for once, seriously considers the future of his career, and self-studies to prepare himself for presentation as Asst Coach. Sa-rang, on the other hand, pushes herself to attain her dream of entering the school team. The other characters likewise, are spurred by Yul and Sa-rang to lend a hand to help out. Even the out-of-character niceness displayed by Sang-hee and his bitchy wife doesn’t feel odd — cos we generally become nicer and more sympathetic when someone close falls ill. And they aren’t bad people, juz tunnelled vision and a little annoying.
I don’t know if Yul’s decision to hide the failed op from Mi-rae can be considered foolish (and shortsighted), but the placebo effect is apparent. At least Mi-rae bucks up and has a wedding to look forward to. Although it drives up the sob factor in Super, I can totally understand why Yul chooses to keep the failed op a secret. It isn’t a selfish decision, sometimes positive thinking does help patients recover and works miracles.