Finland Papa | K-Drama Viki Original Series (Bonus Watchlist Included)
Finland Papa is a K-drama Viki Original series, released in 2023, that is only 6 episodes. Besides the fact that the title is unusual, it’s also an unusual story of love and healing.
Coping With Grief and Moving On
Finland Papa centers around the life of a young woman grieving the loss of her grandmother. In the first episode of this very short series, we meet Yu Ri (played by Kim Bo Ra, “My Only Love Song”). She is wearing the traditional black hanbok dress and standing alone in front of her grandmother’s memorial. You can immediately feel her grief, pain and sorrow. Not only has she lost her grandmother, but her father had also tragically passed away. They were her only family. Now she is left in the world all alone. How will she carry on?
The episodes go back and forth between Yu Ri’s present life and her memories of times spent with her father and grandmother. What makes her circumstances even more sad is that she never even knew her mother. Her father brought her home when she was just a baby and handed her to his mother, her grandmother, with the words “Don’t ask about the mother.” From that day, the grandmother joyfully accepted Yu Ri as her grandchild and raised her into a beautiful young lady.
Yu Ri lies when people ask her if she’s OK. The truth is she’s not OK. Depression is overwhelming her and she finds it difficult to carry on. Fortunately, she has a childhood friend who encourages her to apply for a job at a restaurant called Finland Papa. According to the job ad, the applicant will be required to eat dinner with the staff. Yu Ri goes for the job interview and she is served dinner. She enjoyed the meal but it’s a little confusing. She asks when will they interview her job. They tell her that eating dinner was the interview and SHE’S HIRED!
Working in the Finland Papa Restaurant
There is something delightfully wonderful, yet mysterious and strange about the restaurant, such as:.
- Yu Ri is the only employee using her real name. The other three other employees are using pseudonyms.
- All of the employees have a sad or tragic past and the job at the restaurant is meant to give them a fresh start in life.
- Even though she never met the other employees before she started working, there are many things they say and do that often bring back memories of Yu Ri’s life with her grandmother. It’s like déjà vu. But how can that be?
- None of the employees know who “Papa” is. They have never met the owner of the restaurant. But he gave 10 rules they must follow or they will lose their jobs.
One of those rules is: If one of the employees has a problem or something that’s bothering them, all of the other employees must stop what they’re doing and listen.
Viewership and Rating
This Viki Original series is very slow-moving. There is no fast action, and the characters are not intense or complicated. Nevertheless, you fall in love with Yu Ri almost instantly. As the stories unfold for each of the characters, you develop a genuine affection for all of them. So you patiently go along with the slow-moving storylines hoping that in the end, Yu Ri and all the people who surround her will find happiness.
Viki viewers gave this series a rating of 8.8 out of 10 stars. I would bump that rating up a notich to 9.5. There aren’t very many K-dramas that manage to tell a story in 6 episodes. The scriptwriters deserve extra points just for that!
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BONUS WATCH LIST!
Even though it is rare, there are some interesting Korean dramas that are less than 10 episodes. Add these four (4) K-dramas to your watch list.
Hyang Dan (2007) ~ 2 episodes: This is the story of how Hyang-dan (played by Seo Ji-hye), a beautiful servant girl, fell in love with the man who would become the hero of the people known as Il Ji Mae.
Splash Splash Love (2015) ~ 2 episodes: A cute time-travel K-drama. Jang Danbi (played by Kim Seul-gi) is a high school student who wishes she could avoid a math test. She jumps on a puddle of water that turns out to be a portal. She falls through the puddle, time-travels back to the Joseon era and falls in love with the king.
Must You Go? (2021) ~ 8 episodes: A time-travel drama based on a webtoon. Min Yoo Jung (played by Park Jung Yeon) dreams of becoming a successful pop musician. A talented musician from the Joseon Era ends up in modern-day Korea and crosses her path. Not sure how he got there or if he can return, he decides that he has the skills and talents to help her fulfill her dream. It turns out, however, that he is not the only time traveler.
Strong Underdog (2023) ~ 6 episodes: Jung Woo (played by Lee Dae Hwi) is a high school student who is constantly bullied and has all kinds of bad luck. He just wants to persevere long enough to graduate. But he meets a transfer student who inspires him to stand up for himself. He decides to participate in a school’s fighting tournament with the goal of taking down the school’s biggest bully.
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