Society has looked down upon male unemployment for many years. If a woman is a housewife, it’s seen as normal, but the unemployment of a man makes him less manly in the eyes of society. Episode 8 of Netflix’s anthology series At the Moment brought to our screens a delightful story challenging such a stereotype. Episode 8, titled The Head of the Family, follows the happily married couple Wan-yu and Pai-jui, who navigate through a difficult time during the pandemic to maintain a proper work-life balance. While Wan-yu took on the responsibility of raising her kids, her husband, Pai-jui, suddenly became unemployed. Let’s see how they figured out such a financially and emotionally challenging situation in their lives.
Why Was Wan-yu’s Mother Mad At Pai-jui?
Episode 8 opened with Wan-yu and her friend, Wei-hsi, who was the protagonist of the previous episode titled “The Promise of Karuizawa.” We saw a glimpse of Wan-yu in the previous storyline as a friend and constant source of support in Wei-hsi’s life, but now in episode 8, we’ll get to know more about her. Wan-yu used to work as a brokerage employee and a real estate employee five years ago. After the birth of her second child, she had been busier than before in her household. Meanwhile, during the pandemic, her husband, Pai-jui, who used to work at a biotech company, started working from home. But unfortunately, one day he lost his job and became unemployed. Initially, the news came as a shock to Wan-yu, but she sympathized with her husband. Pai-jui, in the meantime, was not very upset about losing his job. He was rather happy to help his wife with household chores and changing their newborn’s diapers. But financially, it was a challenging situation for them, so Wan-yu rejoined her workplace, where she used to be the employee of the year. After getting her job back, she became busy with her work schedule, but Pai-jui never complained about it. He started exploring various dishes and tried to upgrade his cooking skills. While Wan-yu was at work, he thought he could bring home some good recipes that his elder daughter would like. He joined a cooking class, where he got to learn new recipes that spiced up their boring meal times.
At her workplace, Wan-yu didn’t tell her colleagues that her husband was unemployed. Due to societal pressure and to avoid criticism, she lied about her husband’s job, saying that he was still working from home. But she was very happy to get back to her professional life and to have a husband who took care of her children. However, one day, she received a call from her mother, who told her that she was coming to stay at their place for a while. Wan-yu’s mother was a little bit orthodox and was against the idea of a man enjoying his unemployment and doing household chores. Upon her arrival, Wan-yu and Pai-jui kept on pretending as if nothing had happened. Wan-yu went to the office on the pretext of visiting her friend, while Pai-jui attended cooking classes, giving an excuse for going to the office. However, one day, when Pai-jui and some of his classmates from the cooking class went to a grocery store, Pai-jui talked about his fondness for staying at home and taking care of their children. He didn’t have any idea that his mother-in-law was at the same grocery store, listening to him while standing right behind him. Wan-yu’s mother was so shocked by the news that the eggs she had bought fell to the ground from her hands.
Wan-yu’s mother became so mad at both of them that she decided to talk to her husband to fix this situation. But Pai-jui and Wan-yu asked her to calm down, as they wanted to handle this situation on their own. As Wan-yu’s mother humiliated Pai-jui, saying that he was freeloading on his wife’s money, he couldn’t take the insult and asked his mother-in-law to go back to her home. Wan-yu was upset because of the way Pai-jui talked to her mom, but she finally forgave him as her mother’s words were not very kind as well.
Did Pai-jui Manage To Convince His Mother-in-law?
As the pretense was broken and Wan-yu started going to the office while Pai-jui continued attending cooking classes, Wan-yu’s mother became more and more upset. One day, Pai-jui decided to talk it out with her. He apologized for the way he talked to her earlier and promised that he would find a job and wouldn’t be putting the entire financial burden on Wan-yu’s shoulders. Wan-yu’s mother felt relieved to hear that and accepted her son-in-law the way he wanted to choose his life. Sometimes she even accompanied him to his cooking classes.
Did Pai-jui Get A Job?
As Pai-jui became a very good cook and a person who always listened to others’ problems while trying to solve them, he became quite popular in the cooking classes. The chef who used to teach him cooking asked him to join the classes as a teacher. Pai-jui took the job and wanted to surprise his wife with the good news. Wan-yu, in the meantime, had a small office party where everyone was supposed to bring some homemade food. She told her husband about the party, and Pai-jui wanted to cook something for her. Wan-yu asked him not to bother, as she would buy something quickly. But on the night of the office gathering, Pai-jui surprised his wife by appearing there with his special recipe—eggs Benedict. As Wan-yu hadn’t told her colleagues about her husband’s unemployment, Pai-jui felt a little bit uncomfortable when they asked him about his job. Pai-jui understood that his wife had kept it from her colleagues, so he managed to come up with a befitting lie. Wan-yu felt very guilty about hiding the truth, so she met her husband outside and apologized for keeping it a secret. She explained that she didn’t want her colleagues to look him down due to his unemployment. Pai-jui was so understanding that he didn’t judge his wife and forgave her. He also surprised her with the news that he had been able to find a job as a cooking teacher. Wan-yu felt elated by the news and hugged her husband.
At the end of episode 8, we saw Pai-jui accept his position as a cooking teacher and feel that it was the place where he truly belonged. Wan-yu was also very happy with her professional life. As the two of them were happy to accept each other in a whole new way, they had a pretty happy ending to their story.