Twenty Five Twenty One (2022)

Profile:
Drama: Twenty Five Twenty One (스물다섯 스물하나)
Network: tvN
Episodes: 16
Release Date: February 12 – April 3, 2022
Runtime: Sat. & Sun. 21:10

Plot: A story about five friends and their once youthful lives filled with dreams, passion and love.

Main Cast
Kim Tae Ri – Na Hee Do
Nam Joo Hyuk – Baek Yijin
Bona – Ko Yurim
Choi Hyun Wook – Moon Ji Woong
Lee Joo Myoung – Ji Seung Wan

Review:
The title alone should already warn us of the ending but some didn’t take the hint.

I loved the nostalgia feel of the drama because I grew up in the 90s. Actually I was the same age as Heedo in 1998 that’s why even though I didn’t grow up in Korea and was not an athlete, I could still somehow relate to her. I keep thinking, she is my age. What if I were her friend? How would I support her? It also made me think of my own high school experience and how different I am from when I was 18 years old vs who I am now and how I interact with my friends. I could totally understand them, that even though so many years have passed and we don’t always get to meet often, we will always remain friends and when we get together, it’s as if time has not passed. We also reminisce the good and bad memories and laugh about it.

I really loved the friendship between Heedo and Yurim. They started out as strangers, almost like enemies, fan to idol. They fought, they disagreed, they supported and comforted each other through out their personal and professional lives. I loved and teared up in all their final matches and when Heedo retired and Yurim was there to support her. Boys/men can come and go but friends will always be forever. The writer is the same as Search WWW and it’s no wonder you can also feel some girl-love vibes between Heedo and Yurim (just like Gakyeong and Scarlet in WWW).

I also loved Heedo and Yijin’s relationship. I think the drama spent more time showing how close they were (friendship, brother-sister kind of love) and less than when they were in love. A lot of people hated the ending. They thought they should have ended together. I was fine either way, as long the writer end it well (more on this in the latter paragraphs). I think it was the right love at the wrong time. The love they had was real and it was what they needed during those times. But their circumstances and the events just didn’t make it possible for them to survive.

Maybe if they met in their 30s they could have handled the relationship better. But Heedo was in high school. Sometimes she was brave but often times she was still immature and couldn’t handle a relationship with an older guy. But give her a break, she was young, she still had so many things going on for her and I agree that she deserved to have a relationship with someone who doesn’t make her sad and worry. There are other guys out there and she knows herself and to walk away when she is no longer happy. But at the same time, she also didn’t empathize and understand enough with what Yijin was going through. That’s why they failed.

On the other hand, Yijin tried his best to stay away from Heedo. Not only was she younger than him, he knows he also has a lot of issues to work with himself and his career and his family. Plus the trauma of witnessing the New York attacks took a toll on his mental state. I believe he wasn’t in the right state of mind to maintain a relationship and it was best to let go, no matter painful it was. I was also crying in that scene when they knew it was over and just wanted to take back all the hurtful words they said to each other. Their looks told me they may have broken up but they will always love and support each other. Just like 10 years later when they meet again via Yijin’s show. Although they haven’t kept in touch, you can see they’re still happy for each other and how far they have gone from 10 years ago.

On the other hand, Yurim and Jiwoong’s happy ever after is a contrast to H&Y. Despite the LDR they still made it work. Again, I would say the difference is that they didn’t have a lot of issues to deal with. No mommy issues, no mental health or career issues. That’s why it was easier for them to stay long and strong. I loved the proposal. Very creative Jiwoong and very apt for Yurim.

What I didn’t like in this drama? I think the present timeline wasn’t necessary. Maybe because they used a different actress to play Heedo and she had a very different vibe from the younger Heedo. It makes you think what happened to her all these years and how her youth and passionate love shaped her into who she is now but we didn’t get any of that.

Instead the present timeline served more as a way to introduce the story and was weakly trying to show a parallel between Heedo and her daughter who wanted to quit ballet. Before, Heedo’s mom was against her continuing fencing, but mom Heedo didn’t force Minchae if she didn’t want to do ballet anymore. Minchae, through reading Heedo’s diary also got inspired after reading all the hard work that Heedo went through to reach her success and made her want to take up ballet again.

Those were fine, but it doesn’t really link back to Yijin and Heedo’s story, which was very much the center of the plot. I felt like maybe she wasn’t really over Yijin? It felt like she had so many regrets and that she only had closure when she found her diary. Also, we didn’t see who she married and why they married. Is she happy? If she is happy why is she still not over the diary? Why did she have to go back to the tunnel and look so regretful? If she left Yijin because she wanted to have a relationship with someone who would be there for her, then why is her husband not around? The ending /present timeline really did not close the story well.

We also do not get see what happened to older Yijin aside from being UBS anchor. Did he marry or did he stay single because he couldn’t get over Heedo? He was able to build a home for his family, and we see his younger brother look so grown up. Is he happy? He is the male lead but I felt we didn’t get his own ending.

Overall, I loved this drama. It made me cry buckets of tears every single episode and made me feel so much emotions. I just wish the ending was stronger and made more impact considering the rest of the 15 episodes were almost perfect.

Rating: 9/10

Homemade Love Story ep 73-88

I intentionally skipped episodes 73 to 84 because although most of the stories reached their climax, I didn’t really liked what happened — I fast forwarded a lot of scenes.

Bit Chae Woon meets her father, keeps crying and getting angry at him because Park Pil Hong keeps getting himself in trouble unintentionally – a friend asked a favor to dupe this couple into buying a used food truck. Good thing Pil Hong realized the buyers were Rahoon and Bareun and refused to scam them. Unfortunately, Chae Woon got there in time to see him. Not only that, but Seo Ah pleaded with her grandma to try and take Jae Hee’s big project away from him, just petty revenge for choosing Chae Woon over her. Grandma asked Pil Hong to do the job for her and take the fall. Pil Hong did his job and right after found out he just stole Jae Hee’s project away from him!!

Poor Jae Hee, he lost the project, his suppliers and partners are demanding money from him and got beaten up (with a little nudging from Naro that sneak!). Chae Woon tried to comfort Jae Hee the way he helped her through her darkest days but Jae Hee feels ashamed. He ended up leaving Seoul to go to Incheon for work and this caused a bit of a rift between the couple.

On the other hand, I loved how this time, James /Jung Hoo is now here for his son, willing to help him not because he thinks Jae Hee is stupid but as a worried father. I’m glad they were able to patch up and Jae Hee realizing that his father is trying to be there this time, and he should put his pride aside for once and accept his father’s help. Of course, James made it like a loan that Jae Hee needs to pay so he still keeps his pride. I really love these two characters! More than Chae Woon and her relationship with the two moms.

Chae Woon and Jae Hee finally gets married on episode 85 and until episode 88, we see everyone happy for them.

On the other hand, Hae Deun and Jun Ah are a finally trying to keep their relationship a secret but failing. Hae Deun, who doesn’t like Jung won and Seo ah finds out that Jun Ah is related to them and she is not happy. I wouldn’t be happy either. LOL. But i think she is the perfect addition to their family. She is sweet yet fiesty and will not back down on Seo ah’s brattiness. I do find it funny that Hae Deun and Jun ah may be younger than Chae Woon and Jae Hee, but I’m guessing they’re in their mid 20s, yet the drama is trying to make them so cute and adorable like college kids falling in love. They’re so in-sync with their baby talk and I love them.

Rahoon and Bareun doesn’t get a lot of screen time compared to the others, but at least they’re giving him some story near the end of the drama. We finally learn that he will be enlisting soon and he feels sad to leave his family.

Manjeong and Hwakse are my second fave couple but they slowly slipped down to third because of the stupid angst between them. They separated for a bit but now they’re back together and Hwakse is trying to win in a radio singing contest! I hope he wins!! But hold on, what is this last minute addition of a girl/third party?? Why??

Park Pil Hong finally cleaned up and got his own clothing alteration shop. Problem is he got a place so near Samgwang Villa. Uh-oh. Expect that he will get caught soon! I still don’t like Chae Woon’s attitude towards Park Pil Hong. I feel like she never gave him a chance to explain, she just kept shutting him down. And yet she cries in the corner and tries to act tough. She should just confront her dad and try to be nice to him. Maybe she’ll be surprised that he can be a good father too.

I’m still confused what will happen to Jung Hoo and Min Jae. I want them to stay divorced and friends, but I have a feeling they will end up together in the end. Poor professor Jung Hoo, he is super cute too and may cherish Min Jae more than James. (Yes, I’m still hoping for James and Sun Jeong though I know it’s a lost cause).

I still don’t care about Seo Ah and Naro. I just fast forward their scenes. I find their romantic scenes cringey. I still think that Naro is using Seo Ah although he probably fell a little bit in love with her too. Likewise I also think Seo Ah just transferred her love to Naro. Anyways, they will probably get their own happy ever after too.

Last few episodes left!!! While I’m going to be sad to see this show end, I’m also looking forward to the next weekend drama, which seems to be very intriguing. I just hope it won’t be too makjang.

Homemade Love Story ep. 61-72

Three main events happened in these episodes.

First, everyone seems to be ganging up on Jungwon to accept Chae Woon as her daughter and pressuring her to register her in their family tree. Pressured by Sun Jeong, the grandma and fake consoled by Seo Ah. And Chae Woon is in the middle, hurt by her mother not acknowledging her publicly but understanding her. Honestly, Chae Woon should just leave LX fashion for now until things settle down and Jungwon can publicly tell everyone.

Second best thing is Jae Hee and Chae Woon getting engaged!!! Yippee!! But isn’t this too early? I have a feeling they will still break up before they really get married. I loved that they told each of their parents about their engagement. Unsurprisingly, the soft hearted Sun Jeong and James are so happy to hear the news while Minjae and Jungwon are such party poopers! (lol – just kidding). I understand Jungwon, wanted to give Chae Woon all the opportunities to be better while she is young, no need to rush into marriage. But Minjae’s refusing for opposing is lame. Minjae was one of my early fave characters but her story just kept going down the drain. Most of the times I wish she never gets back with James/Jung Hoo. The newly changed Jung Hoo is so precious. He was the only one who actually comforted Seo Ah and talked to her. Although Seo Ah is still not budging.

Third event is everyone finally knowing who Park Pil Hong is. I feel bad for Chae Woon, after hoping to meet her father for years, she ends up learning how terrible a person he really is!! Chae Woon is usually nice girl, but she is so stubborn and unwavering at times. She just sees what is on hand without actually talking to him or really finding out what happened. She is just quick to assume the worst in Pilhong when she doesn’t even know him.

Hae Deun and Jun A continue to be cute! Jun A starting to like Hae Deun while she is still clueless.

Homemade Love Story ep 49-60

Now that we’re right in the middle of the drama, I feel that the story is starting to drag a little bit. The only highlight of these 12 episodes are Hae Deun and Jun A!

Meanwhile, the main story about Park Pil Hong and the grandma the past is starting to get annoying!! All the more I feel like Park Pil Hong is also a victim of Grandma’s schemes. I hate that Grandma loves Seo Ah (who is not even her flesh and blood) more than Chae Woon. And I hate that she can boldly lie in front of Jungwon and everyone as if she is the wrong one! Grr!

Likewise, everytime I see Seo Ah and Naro together I just want to gag. I really don’t like them. Naro professing he loves Seo Ah is too fake and Seo Ah is too dumb and unloved to actually fall for it.