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The best and worst ‘appas’ in K-dramas

By Hannah Mallorca Published Jun 19, 2022 4:12 pm

Devoted and indifferent fathers exist in K-drama land as well.

K-dramas may be far-fetched from reality but many of their characters, heartwarming moments, and painful times are reflections of our own lives. This includes the relationship of our oppas and unnies with their “appas” (or fathers)—whether they’re considered our best friends or worst enemies. 

In honor of Father’s Day, allow us to rank six K-drama appas from the best to worst.

1. Sung Dong-il of Reply 1988


Sung Dong-il’s role as the female protagonist’s dad in the Reply trilogy might’ve been his best work yet. But nothing compares to his heartfelt portrayal as Sung Bo-ra, Sung Deok-sun, and Sung No-eul’s father in Reply 1988.

No father is perfect, but there’s a difference between an appa who tries his best and an appa who does nothing at all. And Dong-il falls on the latter with high distinction. It’s hard to choose his best moments in the series since his love for his family shines even through his simplest deeds.

Whether it’s getting his middle child a birthday cake as an apology, understanding his youngest child’s struggles with school, or writing the most heartfelt letter for his panganay on her wedding day, Dong-il definitely tugged on our heartstrings.

2. Seo Chung-myung of Start-Up 


Another appa who’s willing to sacrifice everything for his family, Seo Chung-myung is the reason why Seo Dal-mi is determined to fulfill her dreams of being Korea’s Steve Jobs. 

Chung-myung’s story in Start-Up has been a tragic one since he gave everything he had to provide for his family’s needs. He even risked his own reputation (where he gets humiliated for starting his own business) and life to make sure his loved ones live well. Even so, we hoped he didn’t lose himself completely along the way.

3. Kim Chang-gul of Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bokjoo


It’s a dad thing to be concerned about your child’s future plans especially if it hits close to home. Kim Chang-gul, the father of Kim Bok-joo in the Weightlifting Fairy series understands this the most.

A former weightlifter, Chang-gul is aware of the highs and lows of the sport which explains his concern amid moments of being too controlling. He eventually gets over his initial fears as he pushes Bok-joo to move forward no matter how tough the journey.

Other aww-worthy moments include delivering fried chicken to Bok-joo’s close friends and being an overprotective dad when he sensed Joon-hyung’s feelings for his daughter.

4. Oh Joongyu of Doctor Stranger 


The reputation of your workplace or your child’s mental health? Apparently Oh Joon-gyu chooses the former.

Park Hoon has been training to be a “genius” in the medical industry to prove he’s more than Joon-gyu’s son. While it’s normal to mess up, Joon-gyu wasn’t a supportive dad since he cared more about what patients thought about the hospital and their family name. Not a good move, appa.

5. Choi Younguk of The Heirs


It’s one thing to be a good dad but being a good role model is another. As a father, it’s your responsibility to set a good example to your children whether it’s caring for others or living as someone with a good heart.

Sadly, Choi Young-uk of The Heirs is the reason why his son Choi Young-do grew up to be a baddie—even if he cleaned up his act in the end. He channeled his frustration towards his dad by bullying his schoolmates almost to the point of despair. And his father didn’t care about what was going on at all.

6. Lee Boomjoong of My Love From Another Star 


It’s the responsibility of a parent to guide their children as they spread their wings into the world. While it’s normal for children to make their own decisions, it doesn’t hurt to give them a morale boost or two.

This explains why Lee Boom-joong of My Love From Another Star is the worst appa on our list. He favors the older Lee Jae-kyung over Lee Hee-kyung—due to his innate skills as a chaebol and businessman—not minding how much of a monster his panganay has become throughout the series. 

What's worse, Boom-joong knows Jae-kyung’s tendency to be psychotic yet he chose to turn a blind eye. Even when Hee-kyung called him out once he discovers the truth. What kind of father allows his son to squander the company’s funds and kill others for personal gain? Him, apparently.