Her Private Life Episodes 15&16: A Chatty Recap (FINALE)

It’s time to say goodbye to Her Private Life. Let’s see if any of our theories were correct as all the loose ends are wrapped up. Will Deok Mi and Ryan Gold live happily and artistically ever after? What about Not the Brother — does he find a special someone? Can all the parents forgive and be forgiven?

What a Way to Wake Up

Clkytta: So many snuggles and cute moments!

Karie the Maknae: These two are just so comfortable together — totally adorable!

Kmuse: I’ve said it before and I will say it again. These two just make intimacy look so effortless. I appreciate that the drama worked so hard to make their relationship be based on mature adult actions regarding dating. And I just don’t mean having a sexual relationship. They both put each other first in their lives while not losing their own identity. It is a nice change.

MiataMama: I wish I looked this beautiful upon waking in the morning! This OTP definitely has amazing visuals.

Drama Geek: I second everything Kmuse said. My favorite thing about this couple was how mature they were in all aspects of their relationship. They communicated and respected each other at every turn. I would love to wake up next to either of them. LOL. They are both beautiful people.

Kdrama Jen: I love how they make the everyday moments feel so special. This drama has its issues, but the couple-time makes me forget (or almost forget) some of the plot problems.

Deok Mi’s Birthday Present

Karie the Maknae: HOLY CRAP RYAN WINS. What a perfect birthday present, and all done without letting out Deok Mi’s secret!

Kmuse: To be perfectly honest, I really did think that Si An would find out about Deok Mi being his ultimate fan. It is kind of a nice surprise that Ryan keeps her secret but still sets up situations where she can fangirl with his brother.

Clkytta: We all knew Ryan was supportive of her fangirl life, but this is above and beyond! I loved how happy she was.

MiataMama: BEST. BIRTHDAY. PRESENT. EVER! I squeed and was so excited for Deok Mi to have the opportunity to spend some one-on-one time with her idol. Ryan gets the “Boyfriend of the Year” award!

Drama Geek: Oh my word, this man has won the fangirl award for life. I just kept thinking about how it would feel if my Kpop bias sang me happy birthday. I did think Si An would find out, but I’m glad he didn’t. He may suspect, but they can just leave it unspoken between them.

Kdrama Jen: I love this gift! I would love to think my husband would do this for me—leave me alone in a room with a cake and my favorite idol. Yum! Cake! Actually, I really do think my hubby would do this if he could. He supports my fangirling, and that is just one reason why he is my #1 bias.

A Photo of a Boy/I’m Not Your Mom

Karie the Maknae: We called this one, but man, that situation was even sadder than I thought. Deok Mi’s mom gets no blame from me. I can’t even imagine.

Kmuse: I still roll my eyes over the whole “I lost my son and then couldn’t find him anywhere and he got adopted” storyline. So the feelings for that bleed onto this whole situation. I feel bad for the loss of her son, but because the whole thing doesn’t make a ton of sense, I don’t feel as emotional as the show wants me to.

Clkytta: I knew it would end up being Deok Mi’s mom. That poor woman. She is the mom of moms and there had to be a hard reason for her to let him go.

MiataMama: I’m with Kmuse on this plot point. I just wasn’t feeling super emotional about any of this. Even the little brother who died just didn’t really make much of an impact. I actually wondered if it felt lackluster because everyone dealt with the revealing of the past so calmly?

Drama Geek: The cast really pulled me in for this storyline, and even if it is totally eye roll worthy, they managed to make me feel for them. Her mom loved that little boy so much and carried her guilt around for so long. I’m glad that their relationship allowed her to heal from this. I cried really hard when the two moms talked about not having a name for a parent who loses their child.

Kdrama Jen: I am not a fan of this storyline. I think I said before it was feeling a little Reply 1994, so…yeah. I just don’t see how adding the loss of a younger brother (and the subsequent memory loss regarding this trauma) moved the story forward at all.

Dad Takes Over/Deok Soo

Karie the Maknae: I was so glad to see Deok Mi’s dad take the point on this one, to spare his wife some pain. Their marriage hasn’t been the best throughout the series, but I like the healing they get in the last episodes, and it started here.

Kmuse: One of the things I wish was different is we got more Dad added into the story. He is such a fun character and I can totally relate to his anti-social behavior.

Clkytta: Dad was a great character. I hate that they gave him zero depth and made him seem nutty when he was in just as much pain as Mom. Losing a child changes everyone in the family.

MiataMama: It may not have been until the very end of the show, but we finally got to see a bit more from Dad. Loved how sweet and gentle he was with Deok Mi as he shared about Deok Soo.

Kdrama Jen: I thought Dad was sweet, but now we understand why he loves rocks so much. I also find it hilarious as I pictured Kmuse lurking in the corner and polishing her rocks. Can’t. Stop. Laughing.

Drama Geek: I always thought Dad was sweet, but my heart about burst when I found out the reason for his rock obsession. I feel like Deok Mi will become a lot closer to both her parents after this.

Mom Showdown

Karie the Maknae: I loved how understanding all the moms were to each other, encouraging each other to forgive themselves. My favorite kind of ending. Well, ok, it took the Museum Director Mom a bit, but she got there!

Kmuse: I laughed several times when Cindy and Entitled Bangs mom had the same expression. They really did look related at that moment. I also enjoyed Deok Mi’s mom being the voice of reason between the two.

Clkytta: Was it on the podcast or the blog where I wished we’d have a Mom Showdown? It was just as great as I imagined it. Deok Mi’s mom and dad pulling Cindy back and saying that she was their daughter and Cindy’s mom losing her mind was fantastically done.

MiataMama: Deok Mi’s mom for the win. Again. Can I be one of her adopted kids, please?!

Drama Geek: I love how this showdown seemed to impact Cindy’s mom. I think she was able to see that her daughter was seeking out something more than just fangirling over and idol.

Kdrama Jen: I liked how Cindy’s mom had the chance to see for herself that her daughter really can survive on her own. She may have been over-the-top, but I can totally relate to that moment when you realize your baby is ready for that next step in life. It hurts, but it is also a proud moment.

Cindy’s Dream Comes True

Karie the Maknae: I like that Cindy gets to keep being a fangirl to the very end, and that she even converts her mom!

Kmuse: Being a multi generational fangirl myself, I can totally relate to this situation.

Clkytta: In keeping with our respectful fan theme, I love how Cindy was so happy he liked her room and she didn’t rush at him. She could have presented it to him — that would have been a fair request — but she didn’t. She maintained her boundaries and I was proud of her.

MiataMama: I feel like Cindy matured on several levels – as a daughter, as an employee, and as a fangirl. I’m proud of her!! (And I loved that she turned her mom into a fangirl too.)

Drama Geek: I loved how much Cindy matured and found a bigger purpose.

Kdrama Jen: I still think she is just one YouTube video away from a new obsession. It’s hard for me to believe that Cindy has changed so much.

Forgiveness and the Reason for the Rocks

Karie the Maknae: Oh, my heart! Deok Mi’s dad picking up rocks to hold in place of his dead son’s hand about shattered me. Poor man. His grieving has been more silent, but still as consuming, obviously.

Clkytta: I cried. I’m going to admit it, I cried when he said that he picked that rock up and it felt like his son’s warm little hand. No wonder he loves his rocks so much.

MiataMama: Poor, sweet, misunderstood Dad. I’m really thankful that the writer gave us such an impactful reason for his obsession with the rocks.

Drama Geek: I already commented on this, but it was such a sad and sweet thing.


Karie the Maknae: I almost feel bad for Artist Choi, getting friendzoned AGAIN. Someday she’ll find her perfect match. This drama was not that day, though.

Kmuse: She bored me and I am totally OK with her being overlooked once again.

Clkytta: I felt so sorry for Artist Choi. Being told to your face that you are “auntie” material is quite the set down.

MiataMama: Artist Choi was a total snoozefest. I feel kind of bad saying this, but I did’t really care about her in the slightest.

Drama Geek: I was happy with how everyone ended up, and I think she’ll recover just fine.

Kdrama Jen: Clearly she doesn’t recover. She ends up with an unhealthy obsession with dolls and robots, and she likes to hurt them! Just go watch Absolute Boyfriend and you will see what I mean!

New York is for Artists

Karie the Maknae: Ok, I loved how they handled this — the couple got to go away together! I approve of this change to the trope.

Kmuse: Thank goodness we didn’t have a really stupid separation sequence. I always hated those in older dramas. Especially when there was nothing keeping the two from traveling together.

Clkytta: When she told him she would support him so he could do his art, I cheered. I loved that they traveled together and it was never a thought to go alone. That’s a time hop I can approve of.

MiataMama: Time hops are right up at the top of my most-hated-drama-tropes list. Thank goodness they handled this one thoughtfully and didn’t do the typical dumb separation bit. Traveling and working together? Perfect!

Drama Geek: I actually put my fist in the air in a big cheer when they subverted the very tired trope and went to New York together.

Kdrama Jen: Hey! I live in NY! I could go visit them. We could talk about art and fangirling. It would be amazing.

Cha Si An is Si An is My Road’s Biggest Fan

Karie the Maknae: CHA SI AN IS THE CUTEST! I loved that he was moping because his biggest fan was taking a break. That’s probably the most adorable thing he’s done during this drama — right up there with swimming across Ryan Gold’s floor when he was drunk.

Kmuse: This was a cute moment.

Clkytta: I was pretty surprised that they kept her secret. There is no way she can marry into the family and stay a secret fangirl of her brother-in-law. Si An was a worthy idol; he loved and appreciated his fans.

MiataMama: I can’t believe that Si An never got to find out that Deok Mi was his biggest fan!?! He would have been so excited to know that she was the artist (and ultimate fan) that he admired. I’m pretty sad about this missed opportunity.

Drama Geek: I thought it was super cute that he was upset she went on a break. I love that he appreciated her artistry.

Kdrama Jen: I am still trying to come to terms with Si An as a long-haired tribal leader in Arthdal Chronicles. Like, is that really the same actor??

I Want to Paint You and Your Happiness

Karie the Maknae: Proposals and weddings are my favorite! I loved this proposal, and how Ryan’s nerves were shining through the entire time.

Kmuse: Proposals are cute but I am kind of sad we didn’t see Deok Mi in a wedding dress and Si An singing as she walked down the aisle.

Clkytta: That was one of the best proposals ever. I am so in love with Ryan. He really is the perfect man.

MiataMama: Yeay for a super sweet proposal! Boo that we didn’t get a cute wedding scene to follow it up.

Drama Geek: This proposal was so perfect for them, and I loved how visually beautiful it was, along with how much of Ryan’s heart shone through.

Kdrama Jen: I can see them as a married couple. Sometimes I can’t really see drama relationships working out in real life, but I can picture this one.

Bestie Lives the Best Life

Karie the Maknae: I’m so glad Seon Joo figured things out with her husband and still got to be a fangirl to TWO idols. Coffeeshop Idol’s jealousy over her Cha Si An fangirling made me laugh. He’s been an unexpected delight.

Kmuse: The storyline bored me but I found Seon Joo and her son so visually adorable that I didn’t mind watching her on screen.

Clkytta: I loved Seon Joo, and I was happy that things worked out for her. She was smart, she took her fangirling to a professional level, and she created her own idol! Her son was so adorable and I liked that she was pregnant again.

MiataMama: While this side storyline wasn’t the most engaging, I was happy to see Seon Joo and her hubby reunited.

Drama Geek: I was happy they reconciled. I adored their little boy’s belt test that they showed. He’s such a cute kid. There were after party pics of him and Kim Jae Wook that really warmed my heart.

Kdrama Jen: I enjoyed the coffee shop idol and I loved the sismance. I was not really a fan of the husband or that whole storyline.

Martial Arts Couple

Karie the Maknae: If Cindy and Not Brother keep up the banter during their demonstrations, they just might have a YouTube hit on their hands. That was fun!

Kmuse: Cindy & Not Brother ship for the win! I totally called it.

Clkytta: I called it way back. I knew Not the Brother would end up with Cindy. They are adorable together and after all, he’s an athlete — who better to fangirl?

MiataMama: I’m very happy about Not the Brother and Cindy getting paired up. There’s definitely some chemistry brewing there!

Drama Geek: The video recording of them made me super sad we didn’t get more scenes with them. They had such cute chemistry and would have been more interesting than his drinking dates with the artist.

Kdrama Jen: Oh! I am definitely on Team Cindy/Not a Brother!

Final Thoughts

Clkytta: One thing that this drama did really well was to portray fostering and adoption in a good light. Eun Gi was basically fostered with Deok Mi’s family, but his real mom was a part of his life still. They became one big family. Ryan Gold was raised abroad in a happy home and when his mother asks what he looked like at 10 and 20 he tells her he has “tons of pictures”. He was raised in a happy home.

Karie the Maknae: This was exactly what I was in the mood for — a sweet, fluffy rom-com with low conflict and interesting characters. I highly recommend it.

Kmuse: The last two episodes kind of dragged for me. I wasn’t overly invested in adoption story line, so I felt removed from the events. Then the final episode was super cute filler. There were multiple scenes that I felt would have been perfect sendoffs for various characters, only for those characters to pop up again for another slice of life moment. None of it was badly done and I was glad everyone got a good ending. I just didn’t feel that we needed so many small segments of story to wrap it up. I enjoyed the show but probably will not be one that I revisit anytime soon.

MiataMama: I’ll be honest, if I wasn’t commited to recapping with the other fangirls, I would have fallen behind on watching the last several episodes. Ryan’s unrealistic level of perfectness was beginning to wear on me. That being said, everything wrapped up nicely and our OTP was charming. So as far as fluffy rom-com dramas go, I feel it was a win. However, it won’t be a revisit for me.

Drama Geek: Okay, so the story won’t end up being my favorite and the side characters weren’t used to their potential in many cases… BUT the OTP and the writing around their relationship make this drama a huge win for me. They loved and respected each other from beginning to end. They also respected other people and lifestyles in a way that made me fall for both characters. I cried during the scene where Deok Mi views the different art exhibits and remembers how they came about.

Kdrama Jen: I am leaving this drama with mixed feelings. In some ways it was very refreshing (the way the photographer couple was handled) and in some ways it was a predictable use of tired storylines (tragic childhood backstory with amnesia). Still, this is one of my favorite Park Min Young pairings and the OTP was truly memorable. I also loved the way it showcased the fangirl life. Some of the sub-plots just didn’t work for me, but I could watch Ryan in a blindfold or the two of them throwing flour at one another for hours. They sizzle when they are together. So, overall, I have high praise for the OTP and eye rolls for the backstory bit. Still, the shining moments made this well worth the time I spent watching.

At the close of the exhibition, we remain–

The Fangirls

Dramas with a Side of Kimchi

12 thoughts on “Her Private Life Episodes 15&16: A Chatty Recap (FINALE)

  1. This might be a stretch (I’m still learning about Kishōtenketsu), but it struck me at some point that the way this writer subverts tropes employs the Kishōtenketsu structure (which is basically: into, develop, complication/twist, resolution) where the trope is introduced and developed in a way that sets our expectations for the cliched execution, and then the characters DON’T do the annoying/stereotypical thing. This lack of cliched reaction becomes the twist while at the same time making all the twists feel very real because they represent a more realistic/adult sort of reaction.

    Which got me thinking about the overall structure of the plot… as I said in a previous comment we had all the traditional romance beats within the first half of the show: that was the fake relationship. Then at the story midpoint, which generally is the point where the OTP decide to go for it but without having resolved the thing that will then cause the third act conflict. So there we were at the midpoint, expecting the “inkling of doubt” that will culminate in the third-act conflict –but right away instead of getting mad about not-a-brother, Ryan stepped forward.

    This got me thinking that we got a set up and development (Ki shō) that was the fake relationship but also the *entire* Western romance plot with all the sort of zany stuff and misunderstandings. Then the twist (ten) was ostensibly the relationship becoming “real” for the characters, but also becoming “real” for us, in that we moved from the sort of fakeness that the conflict-driven Western plot structure can cause to reactions that felt like what two mature people who like each other would do.

    ***Thoughts on the ending

    I loved that they used these last episodes to develop the themes of love and forgiveness that were already part of the show. They used the side characters more thematically than plot-wise, but that worked for me. I liked seeing friendship, fangirling, parents and children, friend/crush, and romantic relationships play out with different sorts of rejections, betrayals, problems and resolutions.

    I liked Artist Choi well enough and didn’t think her story was sad. It’s not all that sad to have a crush on someone and get rejected, but at the same time get over your career slump and go back to doing what you love. More than anything, it felt like this wasn’t really her story. I felt like we got to see a moment in her life, but it wasn’t a particularly defining moment for her. But thematically, that portrayal of getting over a crush worked for me. I hate it when rejection is treated as automatically devastating.

    I love that best-friend’s husband realized after talking to his son that he’d lost track of love being about more than “providing for your family”, and I quite enjoyed both his genuine effort to make her smile (by helping her new idol) as well as the teasing about fishing and camping which was hilarious and felt familiar. I thought that that marital relationship as well as Deok Mi’s parents’ relationship were used to explore loving someone after the giddy shine has worn off (and when things get tough).

    I agree that the kid storyline required a suspension of disbelief. Not that she left him in a park to play so much (I could see myself doing something similar in her situation), but that he didn’t know how to contact anyone who knew who he was, and Deok Mi’s mom didn’t report him as a missing child.

    But what I loved about the lost kid storyline was how it brought the two moms into this parallel moment, where they both had this tremendous empathy and forgiveness for the other, but not themselves. Then, when they began to talk about it, each one offered her forgiveness to the other, which let them see a way to forgive themselves. I felt like that moment was why the writer chose this backstory, which was so much more beautiful and satisfying than using it for 3rd act conflict or some bland statement on fate.

    I also loved the hints that Cindy’s mom is also a fangirl… not just when she asked if Si An was a sculpture (HA!!!) but when she got her hubby out of jail. Goodbye to my fanfic, no one would believe she would divorce that man!!!

    I had to laugh reading this chatty recap, because I love childhood fate in a relationship and epilogs, and hate proposals and weddings. (But this was the best proposal I’ve ever seen in a drama! I did not hate it until he got on his knee).

    As for time skips: they are only truly bad when they are used as deus ex machina to resolve 3rd act conflict. An epilog is a totally appropriate place for a time skip! I want a peek into my beloved character’s futures before I have to say goodbye forever. I loved the last episode for giving me such a sweet goodbye.

  2. As a mom who has taken in friends of my children more than once, I was dismayed by the storyline of DM’s mom who took RG to the orphanage. I took in my daughter’s 5 year old friend after her mom went to a mental hospital, Dad was living on the streets, Grandparents were too old and sickly, and Big Sis was only 17 and already living with her boyfriend. At the time I had left my abusive ex husband and was on disability from my injuries. I had 4 kids–7 and under, no job, no husband. Trust me, DM’s mom’s financial woes were at least on a par with mine. I was fortunate to have my mom, who chipped in and bought my daughter’s friend some desperately needed winter clothing. But in the end, we all made it, everyone survived, nobody missed a meal or went without. The friend went back to her mom after she was released from the hospital, and they went on with their lives. DM’s mom was already stressed about the loss of her son–then she overreacted to their financial problems IMHO, and paid the price in regret. I think most viewers will miss the message of Have Faith–Don’t Panic

    • I think it was more mental than financial. Mom was devastated and it sounds like Deok Mi was still in the hospital. So mom didn’t know what to do. It’s just all so sad.

      • Hmm, if I am not wrong, the financial reason was what she told Deok Mi before Dad revealed to Deok Mi that she had a younger brother who died. So the real reason was that Mum was devastated by the death of her son, not that she didn’t have enough.

        That said, I am just wondering — if someone loses a son, wouldn’t she hang on to whoever is in her care (whom she has already developed love for) for her dear life instead of giving him up? Wouldn’t 2 losses be even more painful than 1 loss (though I am aware that pain is not quantifiable)? I like that she now gets Ryan back as her “son” (or son-in-law) again. 🙂

        I loved the birthday celebration but it made me wonder why Si An is so dense. LOL! Seriously! Why does he not question Ryan’s instructions! And now I also find it mega weird that Deok Mi is fangirling over her brother-in-law. Hahaha…

        So many loopholes that require a suspension of disbelief…

        • Just look at the pretty and let the plot holes slide. Mom was beyond stressed with losing her son and Deok Mi in the hospital.

    • Everyone grieves differently, and we really didn’t get to see how devastated her mother was. It’s possible that the only energy she had was to get up each day and take care of Deok Mi and Eun Gi. And she did take him to an orphanage where he found wonderful parents. I feel like the plot hole lies in the fact that they didn’t clarify if she’d ever reported him to the police. If the police knew about it then he may have eventually been connected to his mom. But the writing around this storyline was pretty muddled.

      • It was very muddled. We don’t know how long his real mom was in the hospital or if she was even awake. If he was happy with Deok Mi’s family the police probably let him stay there. No one wants to take a kid from a place where he is already safe and happy.

    • shamrockmom3, I just want to recognize all you have done for your children despite difficult times, be they born of your body or born of your heart. I cannot imagine how hard that was, especially while healing from your own many wounds. You are indeed how this story should have gone…admitting hard times and pain, reaching out for help from others (like your mom), and working together to get through it. This story made me mad because it did not do any of that and I think its lessons were tarnished as a result. But back to the reason I’m posting, thank you for sharing!

  3. Yeah I think it is more mental than financial problem. She lost her son, and her daughter was badly injured. She said financial reason was the cause only to hide about the deaceased brother from Deok Mi. Looking at the injury there high chance that Deok Mi was in ICU at that time. So understanable if she did not in the right mind. I think Eun Gi mom took care Eun Gi at that time. And she do not know what to do with Yeon Jae, she do not have time, mental energy and money to take care of him…

    • That’s what I think too. It’s sad and horrible, but she went looking for him when her mind cleared. She took him somewhere he could be cared for instead of leaving him alone.

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