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)

You Are My Spring (2021)

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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)

My Unfamiliar Family (2020)

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Drama: My Unfamiliar Family (아는 건 별로 없지만) 가족입니다
Network: tvN
Episodes: 16
Release Date: June 1 – July 21, 2020
Runtime: Monday & Tuesday 21:00

Plot
This beautiful drama is about a family who has grown distant over the years because of past misunderstandings and sufferings. Once the secrets are revealed and they start to confront the past and their fears, will this family be able to withstand the pain and grow closer? Or will the secrets further tear them apart?

Main Cast
Jung Jin Young – Kim Sang Shik
Won Mi Kyung – Lee Jin Sook
Choo Ja Hyun – Kim Eun Joo
Han Ye Ri – Kim Eun Hee
Shin Jae Ha – Kim Jiwoo
Kim Ji Suk – Park Chan Hyuk
Kim Tae Hoon – Yoon Tae Hyung
Shin Dong Wook – Im Gun Joo

Review

What a beautiful drama! To quote the mom, “What is family to you? Do you not know either? Have you never thought about it? Because I dont know either.” I think this was the main problem with their family. They didn’t know what it means to be family, not because they didn’t want to know, it’s just they grew up that way. I have always thought that the parents, both mom and dad, should be responsible for the family they created, and the children should also be responsible as part of that family. However, in this particularly family, they are so far apart from each other and I honestly would blame mom and dad.

I have no problems with Jinsook and Sangshik marrying because Jinsook was pregnant, because I can see that they were very much in love with each other for the first years together. What happened next is a big facepalm. Sangshik was always insecure that Jinsook still loves the babydaddy and is secretly meeting him and thus, he doesn’t trust any guy that Jinsook seems close to. Then an unfortunate accident changed his life forever when he decided to take responsibly for another family forever without telling his wife. Jinsook, feeling that Sangshik suddenly changed and became distant, start suspecting him of adultery, and bottled up her feelings inside. So the parents stopped communicating with each other, started getting bitter with each other’s behavior until bitterness turned to resentment and misery. All the while they never bothered to talk to each other!!! ARGH!!!

After 30+ years of this bad relationship, Jinsook’s finally had enough. She gather the 3 children and told them she is “graduating” from the marriage. Sangshik is angry, went hiking at night, got into an accident and almost died. When he woke up, his mind went back to when he was 22 years old – back when he was happy and he and Jinsook were very much in love. What a fantastic opener!

As Sangshik tries to reconcile the past Jinsook and the current Jinsook, they start to open up to each other. All the hate and anger came up and they start communicating. To be honest, I’m mostly on the side of Sangshik. I dont know if it’s because of the brilliant portrayal of the actor, that I couldn’t hate Sangshik even if i want to, but Jinsook’s character, although equally portrayed well, to me, came off as being very selfish. I know she also suffered a lot from Sangshik, but Sangshik honestly hurt Jinsook but was kind to the 3 children.

Jinsook, on the other hand, not only hurt Sangshik, but also unintentionally hurt the three children. She ran away with Eunjoo one day but eventually came back. She never apologized or explained to the family what happened; and just came back as if nothing happened. But that event changed everyone’s lives forever. Sangshik decided then that he will stop being her husband and start being the father of the kids and became a workaholic and depressed man who thought so many times of killing himself.

Eunjoo thought her mom took her because she want to kill her and left Eunhee, so the mom must have loved Eunhee more than her. She became resentful all the way when she was in college and she had to work her butt off to provide for the family, and the mom never even bothered to be grateful or appreciate what she has done, further driving Eunjoo to get married and leave her family behind. She also became very resentful towards the two siblings.

Eunhee thought the opposite. Her mom left her because the mom doesn’t love her, and only took Eunjoo (although she didn’t know what happened). She only felt resentment towards her mom and wondered what was lacking of her that her mom loved Eunjoo more than her. She is such a sweet and sensitive lady, but she became less confident and afraid to go for what she wants because she things she is not worth it.

Jiwoo, the youngest, grew up with such a tense environment – fighting siblings, silent parents that he wanted to run away because he doesn’t want to turn out like his father. He wanted to be free of his own family. He grabbed the first opportunity that he can and got completely scammed.
So yes, between the two, I think Jinsook was the worst parent than Sangshik.

What’s worse is the parents let the children grow up that way. It was only in episode 15 when the mom finally had enough and scolded her children’s behavior, something she should have done years ago. She is the mom. She has the right to tell her children when they are acting up or wrong. But she didn’t now and now she is getting angry and wants to be free of her children and do whatever she wants. The minor thing that i didn’t like about this drama is how in the end, the mom didn’t seem to fully apologize for what happened. Sure, she talked and opened up to her children individually, but she always made it look like she was the victim. that she suffered all this time for them. But not being accountable for why her children were like this.

But I could also understand her. She just wanted to get away and be free for once in her life and not taking in all the problems and bottling it up. So yes, I didn’t mind that she left the family for a solo trip for a year. I thought it was a great idea and you can clearly see when she came back, she looked so peaceful and happy.

And to Sangshik, it was definitely wrong to hide the accident from his wife and making her misunderstand. Maybe if he told the truth years ago, this wouldn’t have happened. They might still be happy and their children are not traumatized by their childhood.

I loved that Sangshik and Jinsook were able to rediscover their love again once they were able to talk about their issues. They looked so happy, especially in the end when they decided to let their adult children live their own lives and they live on their own too 🙂

Eunjoo was one of the saddest characters in this drama. She finds out her husband is gay and she is not her father’s daughter. All her past resentment as mentioned above, no wonder Eunjoo grew up cold. I love that her voice is like honey but her words are sharp like arrows shooting (to quote Eunhee). I disliked her character at first, I knew she was a direct person but you can be direct without being tactless or hurting other people. But as we find out what happened to her, I grew to understand her and what she went through. She mellowed during the last few episodes, when she learned to accept her family and other people’s “faults” and differences. I hated her husband for hurting Eunjoo, but i loved how they wrapped up their story. In the end, they will always care for each other because they were family once. I also loved the relationship between Eunjoo and Eunhee. Two sisters who couldn’t be more different. Yet, they are sisters and they are now able to lean on each other.

I was surprised to see Kwon Yul in the last couple of episodes. I thought he was just a cameo but surprised he ended up being the friend that Eunjoo needed. He looked so handsome and adorable with his sunshine-y personality and cute smile. and he is like the male version of Eunhee!

My favorite characters in this show are Eunhee and Chanhyuk 🙂 I loved them so much. From the time we see them fighting while the cheating boyfriend looked on, until they finally told their feelings for each other. It took almost 14 episodes of push-and-pull that I almost gave up on them. Eunhee kept friendzoning Chanhyuk and Chanhyuk not doing anything when he thought he missed his chance. I’m so glad that Eunjoo finally spoke to Chanhyuk and told him that Eunhee thinks she isn’t worth it that’s why she pushes people she likes because she thinks she wont get them anyway. Because of that, he finally found the courage to speak up and tell her what he felt so long ago, especially when he confirmed that Eunhee has always liked him too! (Hello, almost everyone in their college circle thought they will end up together except them!) I just love the friends to lovers trope!

I especially loved that he proposed in that wall where it almost started. All the 3 scenes – when they were younger, when Eunhee imagined kissing Chanhyuk and Chanhyuk finally kissing her were all beautifully shot, i want to go to that place!! 🙂
I’m happy when they got together and it was all worth it! (The amount of kisses they shared in the last episode made up for the long wait!) 😍

Overall, i really loved this drama. Despite the heavy storyline, i was able to bingewatch this show in less than a week! if you have time, please go and watch this amazing drama because I think each one can relate to the characters or situations at some point in our lives.

To quote the ending, “As complicated as I am, we have family”.

Rating: 9.5/10

Find Me In Your Memory (2020)

Find_Me_in_Your_Memory-P2
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Drama: Find Me in Your Memory (그 남자의 기억법)
Network: MBC
Episodes: 32
Release Date: March 18 – May 7, 2020
Runtime: Wednesday & Thursday 21:00 (35 minutes each / 2 episodes per day)
Plot
T
his is the story of a news anchor who remembers everything in his life and an actress who has forgotten a part of her memory.
Main Cast
Kim Dong Wook – Lee Jeong Hoon
Moon Ga Young – Yeo Ha Jin
Review
I didn’t have a lot of expectations for this drama, mainly because I wasn’t familiar with the main leads. I only watched moon Ga Young in Live Up to Your Name and I only watched Kim Dong Wook in Along with the Gods (and he wasn’t swoony there!). There were 2 other dramas that premiered at the same time. First is I’ll Go To You When the Weather is Fine. I don’t like Park Min Young and I have never watched Seo Kang Jun. Second is A Piece of Your Mind starring Chae Soo Bin (who i love) and Jung Hae In (who i also never watched). But somehow, the poster of Find Me In Your Memory and the plot interested me a lot and that’s why i took a chance to watch this. I don’t know if it’s due to instinct after watching Kdramas for almost 20 years but I’m so glad my instinct is right! This is an underrated gem!

I think the main thing that pulled me into watching this drama episode after episode is the amazing chemistry between the main leads. Lee Jeong Hun looked so sad and weary and Yeo Ha Jin looked so innocent and fresh that I thought they looked so well together. Of course, there were a lot of heartbreaks, crying, sadness before they finally got together, but it was worth it because it made the couple stronger and gave them the reason for being together. I didn’t expect them to separate for a few years (i thought at first it didn’t made sense, they can continue to see each other while in a LDR) but then seeing them after 2 years apart made me realized they needed time apart to heal from the past and to decide how to move forward in the future. Fans and the general public have always revelled in other people’s misery and gossips; it’s unfortunate but it’s part of our daily lives. LJH and YHJ had the right to decide what they want and who they want to be with. I think it would have been bad if LJH and YJH knew each other even when LJH was dating Seo Yeon, but since they only met and fell in love years after, for me, it was just fate, and not because they betrayed the dead best friend/girl friend. Seo yeon in heaven must be happy looking over them now.

I also loved the second lead couple – Ha Kyung and Reporter Jo. I also didn’t expect the love line between the two – i thought they were just for comic relief but happy to see their relationship blossom and remain as strong as the main lead.

There were a lot of things happening in this drama – i think in some cases, this can turn bad for the drama because then the there will be too much information and not a lot of developed characters but i’m glad to say that this drama was written well enough that all the stories were interwoven and drove the stories forward. Let’s see, we have

1. the dead girlfriend story + stalker murder which ended well

2. best friend story + finding out your dead best friend is your new boyfriend’s ex girlfriend + feeling guilty for unintentionally telling the stalker where your best friend is so she got murdered

3. Ha Jin’s stalker + finding out the stalking was copycat following what the stalker murderer did to your dead best friend

4. Ha Jin’s journey from a second lead actress hated by fans to instant stardom then falling from public grace after nosy public found out about her relationship with her dead best friend’s boyfriend then becoming a world star and finally going back to korea

5. LJH’s peculiar illness of remembeing everything + meeting someone who has forgotten a piece of her memory only to find out that forgotten memory is the memory you can’t forget

6. the heartless doctor who took advantage of his patient’s illness for his research + intentionally antagonizing the stalker + telling Hajin that LJH will never forget his dead ex so that his book isn’t ruined. and the side story between the heartless doctor and his son who happens to be LJH’s best frind and Hajin’s doctor friend.

See so many stories and yet they were so well connected and written that the drama never got boring. it jus kept me watching and wanting to find out what happens next.

Also want to take time to say that Moon Ga Young as Yeo Ha Jin was so beautiful! she was always impeccably dressed (even at home) and her hair is always perfect. I also loved the beautiful scenery, maybe because it’s spring time but the flowers were pretty and the colors were just popping out on screen.

Overall, this was a lovely melodrama. I savored the quiet moments and conversations and all the emotions the characters felt. i was seriously rooting for them in the end!

Rating: 8.5/10