Twenty Again series review

When 38 year old housewife, Ha No Ra (Choi Ji Woo) decides to enrol in university, her academic husband, Kim Woo Chul (Choi Won Young) and 20 year old son, Min Soo (Kim Min Jae) are horrified. Not only must No Ra overcome the objections of her family, but she faces derision from her younger classmates, and outright hostility from one of her lecturers, former classmate, Cha Hyun Suk (Lee Sang Yoon).

Junggugeo Kaenada 중국어 캐나다: ★★★
Only 만: ★★★

Side dish: Can we really eat anything other than tteokbokki while watching this show? I think not. Here’s a recipe for the spicy rice cakes from Eugenie Kitchen.

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Only 만: Initially, I started watching “Twenty Again”, because I wanted to see more of Lee Sang Yoon’s dimples.

Junggugeo Kaenada 중국어 캐나다: Same here. I had forgotten how cute Lee Sang Yoon was until I was reminded by “Twenty Again”. Unfortunately, Lee Sang Yoon still had his “Liar Game” hair, and he began the drama as a jerk. Also, it was not a one man show, so we’ll have to review the entire drama.

Twenty Again 4.1

Only: Let’s start with the female lead, Ha No Ra, played by Choi Ji Woo. No Ra was a pretty likeable character, even though she was so downtrodden in the beginning. Watching her broaden her world and grow as a person was the best part of the show.

Junggugeo Kaenada: Agreed. Since No Ra was the heart of the drama, how did you feel she related to her husband, Woo Chul, her son, Min Soo, and her fellow students?

Twenty Again 4.2

Only: No Ra was so desperate to please Woo Chul in the beginning that she enrolled in a university so they would have something to talk about. By the end, as their marriage deteriorated completely, she was able to relate to him as an adult, and bluntly articulate what she did and did not want from him. It was the same with Min Soo. In the beginning, he was very contemptuous of her attempts to nurture him. By the end, the two of them were very honest with each other, and it seemed mutually supportive.

Junggugeo Kaenada: Well, Min Soo finally respected his mother. No Ra also gained the respect of her fellow students, though it required the intervention of Hyun Suk, and a sympathetic male student. It disappointed me that she needed to be saved by the pity of a couple of the men around her.

Only: In the end, this is my main problem with the show. No Ra gained a backbone, but largely through Hyun Suk’s help. Even when she denied him, or he had one of his sudden changes of heart, Hyun Suk couldn’t help but intervene for her. It made it hard to applaud her accomplishments and it made him seem controlling.

Twenty Again 7.2

Junggugeo Kaenada: No Ra regained her independence and self-respect, but she ended up giving up on higher education, which surprised me. Also, I would have liked No Ra a lot more if she had regained some of the toughness and vivacity of the teenager she used to be.

Considering how crucial No Ra’s relationship with Hyun Suk was to her growth as a character, it is fortunate that their friendship was believable. You could sense the history and affection between No Ra and Hyun Suk, and they were quite hilarious while they were in a petty war with each other. Unfortunately, that’s about all I can say about their relationship.

Only: Agreed. When Hyun Suk suggested a brother-sister relationship, I really did think it suited them. Unfortunately, this wouldn’t be a K-drama if they’d left it there. The last minute addition of relationship drama to give them some chemistry gave me whiplash, and made the two of them seem a bit nuts. And, I still had trouble buying them as a couple.

Junggugeo Kaenada: Since the drama was stronger in the story of No Ra’s personal growth, I wish they had not bothered with a romance storyline, because it was so weak. However, keep the comedy, which was quite good at times thanks in part to Choi Won Young, who made Woo Chul wonderfully ridiculous and narcissistic.

Twenty Again 14.1

Only: Despite being so unlikeable, Woo Chul was one of the funniest characters on the show. I was surprised to find myself looking forward to his scenes. I can’t say as much for Min Soo and his girlfriend; their storyline was annoying at best.

Junggugeo Kaenada: Well, Min Soo was an insular egghead, and his girlfriend was a twit who lacked compassion. Unfortunately, neither character was played by actors as skilled as Choi Won Young at making despicable entertaining and even, sympathetic. I found Min Soo and his girlfriend tiresome and unrealistic. How can a pair of 20 year olds be so unbelievably chaste?

Otherwise, I suppose the strengths balanced out the weaknesses of “Twenty Again”, which has left me feeling kind of numb towards the drama.

Only: A lot of my positive feelings were squandered by the last few episodes, which felt random and messy. I’m sure there’s a metaphor for delayed adolescence in there, but I can’t quite figure out what it is.

Twenty Again 7.1

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