K-Drama Review: “Hi Bye, Mama!” Hails Pure And Unconditional Love Of A Mother To Her Child

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Hi Bye, Mama! Takes You On A Heart-Wrenching Journey Of A Mother’s Life, Or In This Case, After-Life

The drama is a beautifully traced story of a mother who loses her life, despite that she does not hold back for caring for her infant daughter. Hi Bye, Mama! is quite an interesting narrative that is sure to make you feel curious, happy and sad all at once!

Title: Hi Bye, Mama!
Network: tvN
Theme: Drama, Fantasy
Length: 16 Episodes
Broadcast Date: 22 Feb 2020 – 19 Apr 2020
Main Leads: Kim Tae Hee | Lee Kyu Hyung | Go Bo Gyeol
Highlights: Strong Characters | Beautifully Carved Out Concepts
Overall Rating:
Re-watch Value:
Related Dramas/Films: 49 Days | Go Back Couple | Be With You

Hi Bye, Mama! marks actress Kim Tae Hee’s return to the small screen after almost five years post her marriage to singer and actor Rain and the birth of her two daughters.

Kim plays the role of a ghost mother, Cha Yu Ri, who stays by her family’s side even post her demise.

Kim Tae Hee teams up with actors Lee Kyu Hyung And Ko Bo Gyeol who play the characters Cho Gang Hwa, the father and Oh Min Jeong, the step mother of Seo Woo (Gang Hwa and Yu Ri’s five year old daughter played by actor Seo Woo Jin).

Together, along with other talented actors such as Shin Dong Mi, Kim Mi Kyung and Lee Jeong Eun, the cast brings forward a heartwarming yet harrowing story revolving around a mother’s love for her child.

Hi Bye Mama

Quick Plot Roundup

Cha Yu Ri, played by Kim Tae Hee, loses her life in a tragic accident five years ago and refuses to be reincarnated. She lingers on in the spirit world as a ghost so that she can look after the well-being of her daughter and other family members.

However, all hell breaks loose when, in a fit of rage, she curses the deities and then as a form of punishment is granted her life back. However, the only catch is her being given a period of 49 days. During those 49 days she must either get her place as her husband’s wife and daughter’s mother back or she must pass on.

However, the task is all but easy since her husband remarried and her closed kin think she is dead. To add fuel to the fire, she further learns that her daughter can see ghosts because of her.


Well Sketched Characters

Although the characters are portrayed in a slightly dramatic way than real life, you can’t help but relate to them in more ways than one.

Kim Tae Hee as Cha Yu Ri

Cha Yu Ri is one such character that truly leaves a lasting impact. She is simple as a person. She is funny, caring, sensitive and looks at what’s best for her people.

She is determined too, and because of this she refuses to pass on even after her death. That is because she wants to see her daughter grow up and somehow look after her family.

What makes Yu Ri stand out, however, is her high sense of altruism. She puts the needs of others before herself. An example of this is when even her best friend and the shaman urge her to take her place and live, she refuses to do so in for the sake of Min Jeong, refraining from breaking up the family.

Yu Ri is an ideal mother who goes above and beyond (literally!) to keep her child safe and happy. When she finds out that she is the reason why Seo Woo sees ghosts and why it’s a potential threat to her life, she does everything in her power, including considering giving up her life once again if that means that Seo Woo can lead a good life.

Yu Ri makes you experience the unconditional love of a mother and you can’t help but perceive her emotions as well – she makes you feel joy in her joy, sadness in her sadness and even anger at her decisions sometimes, which makes her so authentic as a character.

Lee Kyu Hyung as Cho Gang Hwa

Cho Gang Hwa starts off as a regular character being a doting husband and a loving father. But when his wife dies in an accident, his world comes crashing down and it is only because of his daughter that he decides to live.

However, you’d think he would be a hands on father, but he is more closed off than ever. He remarries and yet he comes off as cold and aloof. It is only after the shock of seeing Yu Ri back to life, that we start seeing Gang Hwa unfold as a character – we understand his psyche and see why he is the way he is.

Hi Bye Mama

Go Bo Gyeol as Oh Min Jeong

Oh Min Jeong is, perhaps, one of the complex characters on the show. She keeps us wondering if she has any ulterior motives. Min Jeong is a model step mother and cares for Seo Woo as her own and a la Yu Ri. Thus, she does whatever is best for her.

She is a devoted wife and does everything that she thinks would please her husband and without question at that. A resilient person as she is, even after she finds out Yu Ri’s identity, though she is shocked, she decides to assess the situation practically. She hears everyone’s sides as well, rather than breaking down and turning into an emotional wreck.

Min Jeong is someone who keeps learning and growing as a person which gives an insight to her emotional maturity. She understands people and is sensitive to their feelings which is why she is often referred to as being “extremely nice” on the show.

Stunningly carved out concepts

Hi Bye, Mama! is a drama that centres mainly around the concept of a mother’s unconditional love. However, there are many underlying themes that have been presented in a very graceful manner such as:

“The Ones Who Love Us Never Really Leave Us”

This notion is depicted quite literally in the drama especially with the scenes that show the ghosts. Each and every ghost on the show has a reason as to why they’ve still chosen to stay.

An example of that is a family of ghosts, who just like Yu Ri, decide to stay because they want to watch over their son. So, they keep lingering at his house. The deceased baseball player Kang Sang Bong also lingered until he gets a message delivered to his mother.

Just like this, the other ghosts also have a story that they don’t want to end, they still want to be part of their families and feel human and so they linger on just one more day, each day.

“There’s no such thing as beautiful goodbye” 

As human beings though we romanticize the idea of a beautiful goodbye, the show definitely does a great job, making you ponder if such a thing even exists!

We see the struggles of both, the human and the ghosts and their inabilities to let go and we witness the consequences of it as well.

Even though Yu Ri’s character comes back to life and as she prepares people around her for her departure, we still see how excruciatingly painful it is to let go and say goodbye. The show hits you with a reality that no matter what we think, ultimate goodbyes always leave you feeling sad and helpless and that there is truly no such thing as a beautiful goodbye.

On pictures of different mothers

Besides this, the show pays homage to mothers. Even though Yu Ri is hit in an accident, she chooses her child to stay alive over herself.

Min Jeong, being the step mother, is far from all the step mothers one reads in fairy tales and infact is almost like a real mother to Seo Woo. So much – that Seo Woo loves and considers her as her most favourite person in the world.

Yu Ri’s mother is an underrated example of a mother’s pure love. As revealed later in the show, it is because of her prayers that Yu Ri comes back to life which proves that no matter how old you get, a mother will always love her child unconditionally and will stop at nothing, not even death, at that.


Hi Bye, Mama! is a drama that is sure to play on your emotional side and play on your heart strings.

Sure, there are many light hearted moments but there are more tear jerking instances that will make you want to whip out boxes of tissues.

This is definitely a drama that you’d want to watch with your mothers. The show is also for those who want to watch something different and an unconventional story of love rather than your run of the mill typical k-dramas.

Series Afterthoughts

The plot, though simple, gives you a lot to think about. You can’t help but feel for the characters and with the characters too.

What stood out most was that even though there was a supernatural element to the story, it still humanized the characters including the ghosts.

Each and every character was in a sense more real than ever. They just wanted simple things, they just wanted to love and protect their families in the ways they know best.

It is through this kind of simplicity that the show navigated some major profound lessons through to the viewers.

Hi Bye, Mama! is streamed globally on Netflix.

Images Credit To: tvN