Soundtrack No. 1 (2022)

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Drama: Soundtrack #1 (사운드트랙#1)
Network: Disney+
Episodes: 4
Release Date: March 23 – April 13, 2022
Runtime: Wednesday

Plot: Best friends for 19 years, Sunwoo and Eunsoo lives together for 2 weeks and feelings start to cross the line.

Main Cast
Han So Hee – Lee Eunsoo
Park Hyung Sik – Han Sunwoo
Kim Ju Hun – Kang Woo Il
Yoon Byung Hee – Yoon Dong Hyun
Park Hoon – Gyeol Han
Park Min Jung – Yuri
Lee Jung Eun – Eunsoo’s mom

Review:
At only four episodes at 45mins per episode, I easily binged watch this drama one Saturday evening. “Best friends turned lovers” is my second favorite trope after “enemies turned lovers”. I loved best friends Sunwoo and Eunsoo and their relationship. Han Sohee/Eunsoo is so pretty, I can’t imagine how Sunwoo didn’t do anything after being friends for 19 years. Park Hyung Sik is so good at playing the best friend who’s in love with his girl friend. Maybe because he looks so steady and wholesome. However, this showing after Happiness with almost same character made me feel like Hyungsik was playing it safe. I hope he tries a different role in his next drama.

Likewise, I cant believe Eunsoo didn’t see how great Sunwoo is to her or that he has been in love with her for years. Sometimes it makes me think if she was taking advantage of Sunwoo all this time? or maybe she really is just clueless, and that sometimes being friends for too long, one can forget or don’t realize what they have until it’s gone. In Eunsoo’s case, both times when Sunwoo went away, did she realize how much he means to her, and that she finally realizes that what she feels is love. I also thought that we spent 3 eps seeing Sunwoo in love with Eunsoo but only one episode with Eunsoo jealous/in love with Sunwoo. I think Sunwoo deserve to make her hurt for a bit and long for him and savor that feeling of being wanted before they got their happy ending. But Sunwoo is so giving, he probably won’t be able to wait that long. I still wished they added an extra 30 mins so we could more happy and good moments together.

My favorite scenes are when they slept side by side, when Sunwoo left for the army and Eunsoo broke down in tears, when Sunwoo asked Wooil if Eunsoo enjoyed the wine, when Eunsoo cried after Sunwoo leaves on a bus, and the flower shop scene when they met again.

One thing to note is that Eunsoo was supposed to be a lyricist and writing songs about their relationship, but there were too many songs being played in the background and not one made a huge impact to me. I also expected that we will get to hear Eunsoo’s songs for Jayjun and Taeyoon that were meant to be her confession to Sunwoo but we didnt hear them at all. How cool it could have been for Sunwoo knowing that he gets to hear her songs every day and that those were meant for him?

Rating: 8.5/10

Twenty Five Twenty One (2022)

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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

Work Later, Drink Now S1 (2021)

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Drama: Work Later, Drink Now (술꾼도시여자들)
Network: TVING
Episodes: 12
Release Date: October 22 – November 26, 2021
Runtime: Friday 16:00

Plot: The story about three friends who love to drink while they go through the joys and pains of life.

Main Cast:
Han Sun Hwa – Han Ji Yeon
Lee Sun Bin – Ahn So Hee
Jung Eun Ji – Kang Ji Goo
Choi Siwon – Kang Buk Gu

Review:
This web drama was a wonderful surprise! The first 3 episodes the girls were drinking so much, I felt drunk just watching them drink and drink and drink. Later on I got so used to them drinking I was numb, and even wanted to join their drinking binge. They drink not just because they love to drink, but it’s also their way of coping with all the pressures and pleasures in life.

Episode 1 captured the 3 characters’ personalities just through their drinking habits. And having Kim Ji Suk cameo was a poor guy who had a blind date with the three girls was perfectly hilarious. Jiyeon is the crazy fun (embarrassing) friend and Sohee is the friend who always have work. It took some time for me to warm up to Jigoo because she is serious and silent but she’s fierce and loyal and will be the first to protect you when needed.

I love (sometime envy) their friendship! They have gone through so much, from heartbreaks, death, work issues, illness and they are always there for each other, no matter what happens or where they are. I would love to always have my fave bar where I can just spend the whole night chilling with my fave people (and the owner lets you close his shop).

I thought the story will be light and fun but their stories just got deeper and serious after each episode. Ep 9-10 were the saddest.

Choi Siwon as Kang Bukgu -just like what Sohee said, I think his character is disgusting but he’s so soft, that you can’t help but like him eventually (he’s addicting and super hot when he finally shaved!). Now if only he stops being a jerk.

I’m looking forward to season 2 because I want to know more of their stories (past and future)! I hope we get more scenes with Mr. Nice paper – I think he’s a sweet addition to the crazy group, and will make Jigoo less sad and serious. I want Jiyeon to get well and find a nice guy (not just go flit from one guy to another – she deserves to be loved because she is so sweet and fun). And I want to see more fight/rawr/sweet moments between Bukgu and Sohee!

Rating: 8.5/10

Hometown Cha Cha Cha (2021)

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Drama: Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha (갯마을 차차차)
Network: tvN
Episodes: 16
Release Date: August 28 – October 17, 2021
Runtime: Sat. & Sun. 21:00
Language: Korean
Country: South Korea

Plot
A city dentist moves to the seaside village and falls in love with Chief Hong, who is nice and helpful but hides a painful secret.

Main Cast
Kim Seonho – Hong Dusik
Shin Minah – Yoon Hye Jin
Lee Sang Yi – Ji Seong Hyun
Gong Min Jung – Pyo Mi Sun
Kim Young Ok – Kim Gamri
Lee Bong Ryun – Yeo Hwa Jeong
Im Gyo Jin – Chang Young Guk
Jo Han Chul – Oh Chun Jae
Cha Chung Hwa – Jo Nam Sook
Kang Hyung Suk – Choi Eun Cheol

Review
This drama reminds me of that Air Supply song that goes “Two less lonely people in the world, and it’s gonna be fine. Out of all the people in the world, I just can’t believe you’re mine. In my life where everything was wrong, something finally went right. Now there’s two less lonely people in the world tonight.” Cheesy. Yes.

The drama moved at a slow pace, it really felt like watching Hyejin, Dusik and the villagers live a simple life in Gongjin with the beautiful scenery and yummy food. I always thought living in a village vs a city, life will be simple yet I realized that everyone no matter where they live, have their own set of problems.

I honestly didn’t like the first few episodes because I thought the villagers were all rude and always made Hyejin feel like she was a horrible person. I know Hyejin looked and sounded off from a villagers’ point of view, but they should also realize that their actions toward her were also very judgemental and bias. They were too in your face and act so pushy and invade her personal space. And I know they’re just being friendly but they also were too gossipy, esp. nosy Namsook. Even with the reveal of her tragic story, there’s still no excuse for spreading rumors about another person because they’re bored or still in mourning.

Because the drama is based on an old movie, one can feel there are some dated tropes and ideas, and I think this would not been as successful without the lovely combination of the dimple couple, Shin Minah and Kim Seonho. I enjoyed Hyejin and Dusik’s rollercoaster romance, from the first time they meet, to falling in love, how they supported and healed each other, until their ever after. I didn’t like Chief Hong in the first few episodes mostly because he was so rude to Hyejin. At the end of the episode 1, there was an epilogue that showed Dusik was intrigued by Hyejin at first sight, so I thought maybe he just has a bad way of showing it (like a boy pulling the pigtails of a girl he likes). Plus not wanting to get close to people because of a tragic past. I loved the actors who played the younger versions of Hyejin and Dusik, esp mini Dusik who looked so much like Kim Seonho. Their sweet moments were OTP cringey but I’ll give them a pass because they deserved all the happiness in the world.

The sea won’t always be gentle though. We will be met with wind and waves. And even typhoons will come our way. So what if we get soaked in the rain? Who cares if the wind blows a bit when we’re in the same boat?

Hyejin and Dusik final scene at the boat

Euncheol and Misun’s relationship was low key and adorable, I loved them (sometimes more than the main couple). And I got it right, Euncheol was the mystery lotto winner 😄. Of course I have to mention I love Hyejin and Misun’s friendship. Misun follows her friend to the seaside, when she was heartbroken, Misun helping Hyejin put up her dental clinic. Both friends cheering for each other’s love lives, though I still cant get over Hyejin leaving Misun in Seoul after planning an overnight girls night out to go back to Dusik!! But I can understand, I would also do the same for my girl friends.

Another fave character is Hwajeong. To me, she is one of the least annoying villager (after Dusik and Eun Cheol). Although she listened and followed the villagers, she never openly gossiped about other people, would scold them esp Nam Sook if they went too far, and wasn’t harsh on Hyejin. I cried for her when we found out why she divorced her husband. I’m happy they got back together, just wished they showed more sweetness and more groveling from the husband to make up for the 15 years he treated her bad. As for her relationship with Chohui, I already guessed that maybe Chohui liked her not Young Guk with the way Chohui was acting. Chohui was always smiling and trying to be close to Hwajeong, and I thought she was too insensitive – she knows they got divorced, yet she kept asking them to hang out with her, I’m glad Hwajeong confronted her about it. And when Chohui finally confessed to Hwajeong, I also appreciated how Hwajeong turned her down in a nice way and they continued to be friends. I love Im Gyo Jin so I know even if he played a jerk for the most part of the drama, I couldn’t stay angry at him, because right from the start, I knew Young Guk and Hwajeong will end up together again. And Gyo Jin’s so cute and funny!

Oh grandma Gamri 😢 Whenever I see this actress, I’m scared to think if she will die by the end of the show or not. But at least she died peacefully here, not like in Mouse where she was murdered.

Seonghyun is another fave character, though it felt like he was only introduced to pressure Dusik to finally make a move on Hyejin. I liked how his first love story with Hyejin ended, again, quoting another 80s song from Barry Manilow that goes, “We had the right love at the wrong time. I guess I always knew inside, I wouldn’t have you for a long time”. I also love how he became friends with all the villagers, and most especially with Dusik – so nice to see Dusik have actual friends again that are of same age, who he can talk to if he has problems. I just didn’t think he really had to end up with his writer – they could have continued being partners producing great shows without the romance (or maybe they could have gotten someone prettier to match him *sorry*) I knew what they mean, that he has been chasing for his first love with Hyejin, when all along the girl he likes is the one who was always besides him, but still, there’s still that 30% feeling that he “settled”.

The main things I didn’t like about this drama are the too many coincidences. Hyejin and Dusik meeting several times through out their lives — when they were kids, when Hyejin ran away, when Dusik almost jumped from the bridge and now in Gongjin. I know they’re supposed to show that they’re destined to be with each other, but it was just too much. Plus finding out Dusik’s tragic past was connected to Seonghyun and his assistant’s family. Like really? There’s this magnet that pulled them all together to meet in Gongjin. It was just too convenient story wise.

I took me some time to write the review because I couldn’t decide on my rating. I didn’t like the first few episodes, and the middle part felt too long and boring, that I was sometimes half watching half doing something else. But still I looked forward to watching this every weekend.

Lalalalalalalalala…romantic sunday 🎶🎶🎶 will forever be embedded in everyone’s minds.

Rating: 8.5/10 (because I liked the ending despite the flaws and this was the perfect weekend watch)