Bad Parenting in Baker King

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Nothing like a good old family-centered makjang* drama to get you thinking about your own family.

I started watching Baker King, Kim Tak Gu not long ago because of Yoon Shi Yoon and Joo Won (both of whom I am now a new fan). With the hero as an illegitimate child, illicit affairs, an evil household madam and business corporate machinations, the show is veeery similar to most of the Pinoy soap operas we have had in the last decade, and still have.

Except that at 30 episodes, Baker King is more…  hmm,  how should I put it? More watchable? Because yunno, the story actually has to go somewhere, and get to the point already, because of the limited number of episodes. Wow, I rambled.

baker king 1 pangako sayo 2 walang hanggan 1

What can we say? Illegitimate children, illicit affairs, evil household madams 
and business corporate machinations are the staple of Pinoy drama shows.

The story is solid enough with strong and believable character motivations and family strife, and because the show is Baker King, there will be a turn where the underdog-illegitimate-child-who-is-actually-a-genius-prodigy-baker will, of course, attain the titular Baker King claim.

But I am only halfway through, and have barely reached the “underdog baker turns into a genius baker” part yet. Instead, the drama has been rife with family strife, setting us up with conflict after conflict after conflict, to make the underdog win sweeter (it better be!).

And after almost reaching the half-way mark with a drama of family conflict, this I have to say: wouldn’t I love to bring you all to a Parenting Seminar and Family Retreat.

Seriously. All THAT conflict and evilry would have been done away with had someone been yunno, nicer, kinder.

 

The Crazy Cycle

All that wrong obviously points to none other than: BAD PARENTING.

Had the matronly grandmother been kinder to her daughter-in-law, we could have done away with it. If only she didn’t meddle too much in her son and daughter-in-law’s marriage affairs too much!

If only the husband had backbone and actually showed affection to his wife and children.

If only the wife loved all her children (a concept somehow foreign in this drama).

If only someone told the children they didn’t have to do so much just to get their parents’ approval.

Pretty darn messed up, huh.

Now, I obviously am very much invested in the characters, and one may argue that the argument is a bit lacking. After all, it’s just a show, right? The extreme individualist may laugh it off as ridiculous, pointing at this as the weak point of the family-oriented cultures, much of which Asian cultures are.

Still, no matter what the individualist claims, are we not all somehow, a product of what our families were?

Honestly, have you never wondered?

What would have been different if only my parents treated each other differently? What would have been different if I and my siblings had grown up in a different setting? If my parents didn’t do that? If my parents did that instead?

 

Disclaimer: I had a happy enough childhood, thankfully. I was not abused, nor were my siblings. Still, no family is perfect and each has its brokenness, including ours.

 

 

 

*Makjang definition from dramabeans: a sylistic, tonal, or narrative element in dramas that chooses to play up outrageous storylines to keep viewers hooked despite how ridiculous the stories become (adultery, revenge, rape, birth secrets, fatal illnesses, and flirting with incest possibilities are some makjang favorites). Shows can be part of a makjang class of dramas (Wife’s Temptation is a makjang series), or they can have makjang tendencies (Mary Stayed Out All Night went makjang toward the end). Generally considered a negative thing (“Gah, how makjang can you get?”), unless a drama intentionally embraces the style (such as Baker King Kim Tak-gu or Flames of Desire).
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