Hometown Cha Cha Cha (2021)

Profile
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)

You Are My Spring (2021)

Profile:
Drama: You Are My Spring (너는 나의 봄)
Network: tvN
Episodes: 16
Release Date: July 5 – August 24, 2021
Runtime: Monday & Tuesday 21:00
Country: South Korea

Plot

Main Cast
Kim Dong Wook – Ju Young Do
Seo Hyun Jin – Kang Da Jeong
Nam Gyuri – Ahn Ga Young
Park Yoon – Choi Jung Min/Chae Jun

Review
I thought the title is deceiving. I was expecting a romcom but this was a healing drama about the leads with lots of traumatic experiences and a side of murder. But in the end I understood why.

After I finishing watching episode 1 I almost didn’t want to continue. The tone of the first episode was weird. It was partly mysterious with the recent murder and the flashback when Da Jeong as a young kid and her mother running away, then later Da Jeong is back in her hometown and the tone will shift to something light and romantic when the main leads had their first meet cute. I thought it was very odd and it sort of reminded me of Kim Dong Wook’s drama last year called Find Me In Your Memory. But a few weeks later, I decided to continue and actually liked the drama.

I loved the leads, both actors were perfectly casted. I laughed at the funny antics, swooned at the romantic scenes and cried at the heartbreaking moments. That rooftop scene when they broke up, that night they cosplayed, when Youngdo finally realized his first love, getting Dr Hallow and Blackfields from the machine, Youngdo in his embarrassingly slick hairstyle and outfit. I loved all of them! I wished the twins’ story was just a side plot and the story focused more on the romance and relationship between the leads, I would have rated this drama higher!

The whole murder storyline was boring and was out of place. Up the end I was still confused what really happened to Jeongmin and Ian Chase — who was who in the flashbacks in the orphanage, when they were 18 years old, and how they were able t continue to communicate all these years. I also didn’t really care for the homeless guy and his motivation for killing the twins. At some point I wanted to pause or go back to previous episodes to actually understand what happened but I couldn’t be bothered. Too bad. I like Yoon Park as Jeongmin because he was always smiling and happy vs Ian Chase who always looked troubled. But I hope he becomes happier.

I really like Kim Dong Wook. He may not be as handsome as the usual main leads like Lee Min Ho or Park Seo Jun but I find him really charming and fascinating to watch on-screen. His skin is flawless, his smile is infectious, and he just looks like a guy who is so steady and supportive that you know he would be there to protect you. And maybe that’s why he got this role. His voice is also soothing.

I also loved their group of friends and how we also got to know their story too. Except Cheoldo and the vet, i wished they explored their story more than Ian Chase one. Ji Seung Hyun was wasted here!! He was more like a side character with a one sided like for the best friend and the boxer. I wished there was more depth and growth to his character. Likewise, they always made Cheoldo looked like an annoying friend, I think he is a nice guy and deserve better treatment from his so-called friends. The boxer lady also had a potential to have a better story other than pining for the vet who doesn’t like her back.

I also loved Nam Gyuri’s portrayal of Ahn Gayoung. Her “HELLO” is so fun and catchy and her cute romance with Patrick. I thought they wouldn’t last but I’m glad they did because she really looked so happy with Patrick and Patrick looked absolutely in love with her despite the age gap and what others think. The Princess of Forever drama seem to almost look like a fun drama to watch, although the main lead didn’t look attractive enough to understand why the princess will like him (esp when the husband looked amazing).

This drama also has one of the better mother-daughter storylines where the mother was actually supportive and listened to her daughter vs the usual Kdrama mothers that screamed or whined that their daughter is unmarried, etc. The actress who plays the mom always play a mom and I find it weird because I know she is older (around 51 yo) but she is too young to have a older children (in the mid 30s) (though I think Seo Hyun Jin is playing a character much younger than her real age).

Rating: 8.25/10 (8.5 less 0.25 for the murder storyline)