I have just finished watching this kdrama. It is more recent than My ID is Gangnam Beauty but still it was not released this year. This one is from 2019 and wow, it was not what I expected at all!
I thought it was going to be a typical high school drama, with first love storylines and school drama stuff. I was expecting something along the lines of High School Love On or the Reply Series. It is not like either dramas.
This drama is slow paced and realistic. It doesn’t sugar coat anything and it doesn’t give that cookie cutter happy ending that most shows give. The ending, in fact, is rather bittersweet.
Don’t get me wrong the ending isn’t bad and it isn’t as sad as some cdramas I’ve watched but it’s not happy or lovey dovey.
So, my thoughts in detail… I’ll tell you without spoiling anything.
It follows three characters, Joon Woo, Soo Bin and Hui Young.
Joon Woo is the main character and he was forced to transfer from his old school to the new one. When he arrives he’s rather awkward and doesn’t speak much and is always ready to give up but through the efforts of his homeroom teacher Han Gyeol he overcomes all that and works hard to get to a secure place.
He also lives alone in Seoul as his mother couldn’t afford to leave her restaurant in their old city.
He also has to deal with bullying as some characters want him to leave. He honestly has to work hard for everything in the drama. His apartment, his place at school and his first love.
Soo Bin is quite popular and genuinely friendly. She doesn’t seek drama but the drama finds her. She seems to have an instinct about people and most of the time she’s right. The problems in Soo Bin’s life come from her mother. She is overbearing, strict and so intense. She wants her daughter to get into Seoul University and that’s all that matters to her.
I honestly was waiting for Soo Bin to break because she was so stressed and her life with her mother is unhealthy. I’ve seen what can happen to you if you continue to try to make your parents happy through your grades and honestly… they’re never satisfied and if it’s not what you want, you’ll be unhappy in the end.
She gets a happier ending than I expected.
Hui Young has similar problems only even more intense. His father is physically abusive to him and his mother, so if you’re sensitive to that don’t watch the drama because it could be triggering. He’s very high strung and has to maintain his position as first in the school. Because of all that with Hui Young, it’s like he wears a mask and you don’t see his true personality or rather you don’t see the cracks in his physic until later.
Hui Young is a character I did not like. There are decisions he makes that effect lives tremendously. Then as you watch the drama you realise, he needs help and he needs to get away from his family.
So those are the main characters.
Oh, Han Gyeol is also a main character, he’s the homeroom teacher and honestly I love him. I love him so much!
He’s sincere, refuses to be bribed by parents and honestly wants to make a positive impact on the kids lives. He’s nervous at first and he struggles as he’s new to the position but he never gives up even when the task looks impossible.
He’s also got an adorable personality and I just adored his story with Jimin. It was so cute and it was so nice to see Heo Youngji in something. I’ve been wondering what she’s been doing and to actually see her in a drama was great. She killed it.
The supporting characters were also good. The parents were menacing, they gave me chills. I mean Soo Bin’s mom isn’t evil but she’s not good. And Hui Young’s parents, his mom seems harmless but you can tell she’s the type to bribe and manipulate. However his dad, his presence alone set me on edge.
The school characters were good too. I loved Chan Yeol; she was the purest character in the drama. Even when she was in love she still wanted the best for her crush even if it meant not her. Pil Sang looked like he would be the bully but he was more of a prankster and just a kid, harmless and in need of being steered in the right direction. Ro Mi went on a journey, a much-needed journey. She wasn’t magically better by the end but she’s on her way. Gi Tae was not great but he gained some guts by the end and all for love which was interesting. I would have thought “the incident” would have done it first. (Speaking of “the incident” if you’ve watched the drama what did you think about that? Would you blame Hui Young and Gi Tae?). Oh Jae was the sweetest character out of the male characters. He was pure like Chan Yeol and had a lot to sort through. It’s nice that he didn’t get bullied for it in the drama. (As I don’t want to give spoilers I’ll stop there). And Da Huin was an angel. I said it. There were people who didn’t like her but I feel like she was an accurate representation of a teenager and a nice one.
That’s the thing that the drama highlighted, they’re all eighteen. They’re still learning and growing and trying to please their parents whilst learning who they are and what they want.
It’s hard being a teenager and so honestly with all of the teen characters none of them were inherently evil. You could see how they made their decisions and why and it made it hard to simply hate a character.
It wasn’t black and white but rather there were a lot of shades of grey, as is life.
However no matter the reasons you do something there will be consequences especially if you do the wrong thing and this drama highlights that too. Not just for the teens but for the adults too. They were so flawed and their flaws directly harmed their children.
If I ever want to teach a parent about the harm they could do to their child with their high expectations and by putting pressure on their kids and by rigidly controlling them, I’d show them this drama and they’d understand right away (I hope).
My only complaint is that Hui Young’s storyline left a lot of questions unanswered, about his parents and his brother. Ok, not a lot of questions, more like two very direct questions.
Oh and it was a little too bittersweet for me. I like my dramas cheery. However, it’s nice to watch something different once in a while and it really is well made.
So I give this drama a 3.5 out of 5.