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

So I Married The Anti-Fan (2021)

Profile
Drama: So I Married The Anti-Fan
Network: Naver TVCast
Episodes: 16
Air Dates: Apr 30, 2021 – Jun 19, 2021
Runtimes: Friday and Saturday
Country: South Korea

Plot
Whojoon is a top star and he mistakenly thought that Geun Young is a fan/stalker. Geun Young, who is actually a reporter, got so angry and threw her high heel on Whojoon’s head. The video became viral and she was dubbed as Whojoon’s anti-fan and got fired from her job. A TV PD decided to cast Who Joon and Geun Young in a reality show where a top star and an anti-fan tries to get along.

Main Cast
Choi Tae Joon – Who Joon
Choi Soo Young – Lee Geun Young
Hwang Chan Sung – Jae Joon
Han Ji An – Oh In Hyung

Review
Here is the podcast link if you prefer to listen:

I love love stories where one is a celebrity so reading the synopsis alone I was interested to watch this. Turns out, this is one of the best surprises this year! I really didn’t expect to love this as much as I did!

At the start, Whojoon was just ok for me. He seemed two-faced, super nice in public but a jerk in real life. I really could feel Geun Young’s anger at Whojoon. I instantly liked Geun Young and felt bad that she kept getting embarrassed and humiliated by Whojoon, his fans and the media. But i think it was also partly her fault and her rash actions that put her on that spot.

The show got 100x better when the couple started “living” together and getting to know each other. The more you hate the more you love right? I think Whojoon and Geun Young were perfect for each other. They’ve come a long way from being bitter enemies to lovers and it was worth the wait. I savored each and every scene they were in together. I loved how they can have a good laugh with each other and be comfortable talking about their past and issues. I especially loved how they discussed their relationship as adults. Whojoon is a big celebrity and kudos to Geun Young for understand that part of his life and not pressuring him to reveal their relationship or to choose her over his career. That Whojoon didn’t ghost her and told her he will fix his issues first and he will come back to her. That Geun Young waited for him and didn’t lose faith in him.

Geun Young’s parents were also funny especially the dad.

Just a little bit more on Whojoon. I am definitely nominating him as Kdrama boyfriend of the year! He was cool and smooth with his lines and subtle actions. It is so funny and charming that I also fell in love with him. I didn’t like Taejoon in Suspicious Partner but he was so cute here, I can’t resist him! Whojoon has a way of being loveable without sounding like an arrogant narcissist. And when he put down is public face, we see the real Whojoon who is a sweet and sincere guy.

The main reason I didn’t rate this higher is because I didn’t like JJ and Inhyung. The entire time I ignored JJ’s rants and punchy face because I know he will make up with Whojoon in the latter half. But I can’t stand Inhyung. She was lonely, I get that. But she decided to choose JJ over Whojoon. I don’t know if she cheated on him, or if she was still in love with Whojoon all this time, or did she really love JJ. But i felt like she always blamed others for her life. Like she is a damsel in distress that needs help from the boys. JJ is definitely terrible at stopping her career and I get her desperation, but having a secret phone with the no. of your ex boyfriend that your current boyfriend hates was totally wrong. I think Inhyung never showed that she loved JJ or that she chose JJ, that’s why JJ always felt insecure and jealous of Whojoon (plus the betrayal). The nonstop fight between JJ and Inhyung was also repetitive and tiring. I wanted Inhyung to die or go far away and leave the two guys alone. I also felt relieved when JJ lost his voice LOL.

The last episode felt rushed. Instead of the multiple flashbacks i wished they spent more time completing the little plotholes. Like what happened to Whojoon during the time he was away? Where did he go? (back to Alaska? with his mom?) How long was he gone? Also, I would have been happy with Whojoon publicly admitting his relationship with Geunyoung, coz the proposal was too fast. But still overall enjoyed their happy ending. “it’s not Yama (punk), it’s You are My All (YAMA) 😍”

I also loved the OST. Unfortunately I missed the deadline to buy through the Makestar funding project. huhu. I hope they make more copies because I know 2 people willing to buy the OST album!

One last bit, I also loved Manager Jihyang 🥰🥰 He is so handsome and patient with Whojoon. He protected him from JJ, Inhyung, the CEO. I didn’t know if Whojoon went back to Shooting Star after paying for CEO’s loans, or did he put up his own one man agency and Jihyang is the CEO/President though that’s what I imagined.

Rating: 8.75/10 (9 minus 0.25 for JJ Inhyung)