Twenty Years Old is a little drama special that I’d been meaning to check out for what feels like forever.
I’d heard good things, but there was always something newer and shinier on the drama horizon, and I basically kept getting distracted. Heh. I sound like a hyperactive puppy with a short attention spa-.. *SQUIRREL!* 😄
Now, it’s actually thanks to blog reader Fisch, who took the time to ask me if I’d seen this show, that I finally checked this drama special out. Thank you, Fisch! 🙂
(ALMOST) EVERY FANGIRL’S FANTASY
It’s not much of a stretch to say that practically every fangirl has fantasized at least a little bit, about what it would be like to date Oppa, right?
In this sense, I find this show’s approach and premise quite intriguing.
Show’s decision to literally have Lee Ki Kwang of B2ST / BEAST playing himself, and his groupmates appearing in the show, also as themselves, complete with performances and concerts, is refreshingly different.
It means the lines between Real and Reel are blurred that much more, as we are introduced to this maybe-not-quite-an-alternaverse where Ki Kwang meets his high school first love Hye Rim (Lee Da In) and begins a relationship proper.
Since watching drama gives us a chance to live vicariously through our characters, this show basically gives every fangirl the chance to experience that fantasy of what it would be like to date Oppa.
Sure, your Oppa may not be Ki Kwang, but again, it’s not hard to swop him out in your imagination for your Oppa of choice, and see what it feels like, to be an ordinary girl dating a k-celeb.
On top of the vicarious experience, Show even manages to be rather thought-provoking in how it explores k-ent culture and the issues that would likely come with dating Oppa.
At just four 20-minute episodes, that’s quite an accomplishment.
LOTS OF CUTE
This being Lee Da In’s debut, and me being the kpop noob that I still am, this show was my introduction to both leads, and I found both of them promising.
I thought Lee Ki Kwang did well in bringing out the normal, almost slightly gawky normal guy he’s supposed to be, underneath the idol polish. I found his smile particularly endearing, like so:
And I really liked how gung-ho Lee Da In is, in portraying the different facets of Hye Rim.
From bawling her eyes out, to unglamorously stuffing her face, to awkwardly trying her best to look pretty for Oppa, she feels refreshingly candid in her delivery, and effectively portrays all the angst, struggles and foibles that come with being on the cusp of adulthood.
Admittedly, I thought the makeup was laid on rather thick most of the time, and felt that Lee Da In’s natural charm shone best when she was wearing less makeup, like here:
As our OTP, both Lee Ki Kwang and Lee Da In turn in solidly decent performances, and managed to make both their flashbacked bickering rapport and their present-day shy blush of early romance believable and engaging.
Plus, they are actually really cute together. Here’s a quick screenshot spasm, just coz:
STUFF THAT MADE ME THINK [SPOILERS]
Even in the midst of the giddy first flush of romance, our OTP encounters the downside to k-celeb dating. Getting stalked and caught by over-enthusiastic k-paparazzi; getting splashed all over the media; facing the wrath of possessive, delusional fangirls; getting shunned by everyone; our young couple faces it all, and it’s a disturbingly true-to-life portrayal of the workings of k-ent.
Anyone who’s followed k-ent for a while knows how unforgiving the media and fans and netizens-at-large can be, towards a k-celeb embroiled in a scandal.
As I watched these events of our story unfold on my screen, I found it sad and sobering, to realize all over again, just how hard it is for k-celebs to have a private life. Really, how odd is it, that a k-celeb being in a romantic relationship is considered a scandal, right alongside other scandals that involve stuff that actually, y’know, breaks the law?
Because of the tremendous pressure from fans and their agencies, more often than not, when the k-celebs date, they do so in secret. Which means that inevitably, the celebs have a hard time, and so do their partners.
The story’s happy ending, with our couple managing to hold onto their love, also makes me wonder just how many of our k-celebs are dating in secret.
Yes, with the spate of dating news that’s hit k-ent in the last year or two, the attitude towards k-celebs dating seems to be opening up and loosening up, relatively speaking. But it’s still a tough place to be in, and this show managed to land these heavier themes with a light touch and without losing sight of the story or our characters.
A commendable achievement indeed.
THE FINAL VERDICT:
Rather earthy, a touch whimsical, and even a little thought-provoking.
FINAL GRADE: B+